Children dont sing anything except pop, anymore and they certainly dont sing hymns.
So many people who never actually talk to children in church hold these opinions but it isnt actually true!
Children in school work with tuned and un-tuned percussion and actually compose music and record it electronically or write it down using their own symbols, in order to play it back. The music they listen to is not just a few inappropriate classical composers but a wide range of genres from different cultures. And yes they do sing with great gusto. The songs may be different but they do sing!
Instrumental teaching is available
(ignore the press) but it is expensive. In the past it was funded
by the Local Authority and not many local authority schools had
it. Now schools have to find their own funding from constantly
reducing budgets. There are many more
So take heart children do sing.
In churches we need to find out what they know for it is certainly
not Jesus bids us shine nor Praise my Soul
the King of Heaven, or even those rather sentimental Child
Songs by Carey Bonner.
How do we go about including children (those between 4 and 11/12 primary school children) in our worshipping communities?
A good starting place is to find out what children already sing in school assemblies. They do have assemblies and they do sing but not all may be appropriate in a church setting. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Ask them and make a list. Then get the music and choose what is appropriate for church needs. There are often CD/tapes available. Include these in services and childrens activities.
When choosing new songs make sure that the words are appropriate. Words should be simple with no complex metaphors. Do be wary of adult theological terms. Dont put words into the childrens mouths that are not true.
There is a real need to recognise that when there are very small numbers of children they may not want to sing because with a few voices they sound loud and can feel embarrassed. If you use a CD/tape of pre-recorded music then they can join in. These are available for most song collections.
The tunes should not be complex musically or too atonal.
Find out if any child plays an instrument. Be aware that they will probably be at the beginning of the learning curveso no solos! But it is easy for a musician to put in chords using recorders, violins, flutes etc and the children can become a real part of the church music.
Purchase some tuned and unturned percussion instruments and
use them. Dont let the children just bang but get a rhythm
going. Use the tuned percussion, like the instruments to create
chordal sequences rather than play a difficult tune badly. Children
are quick to
Use children to accompany singing, but not for a solo performance that is often inappropriate in worship or play the music whilst the offering is being collected.
It is possible to write words to existing tunes that children may know from the media or nursery rhymes and get the children to write their own words too. They can be brilliant at this. Even if it isnt poetry. It will be the worship from their own hearts and not something an adult has put into their mouths.
Encourage children to work alongside a musical and trusted person (who has had full Criminal Record Bureau clearance to work with children) to create a special piece of music for church. This enables the child to be mentored into the use of their music in worship.
Some churches have a Childrens Choir and some of these are extremely successful . There is an excellent article on http://hubpages.com/hub/how-to-start-a-choir which is well worth reading. A Google search brings up several other relevant sites too.
There are huge amounts of music suitable for using with children in church. Again an internet search brings up a wide selection (in order to narrow the choice somewhat include UK in the criteria!)
Do encourge children to be part of a mixed age music group.
Everyone can learn from each other and often it is the children
Published by the URC Musicians' Guild 2009