Archive for the 'Kids Choirs/Kids Music' Category

28
Sep
11

Another day, another rehearsal

It’s Wednesday and we are gearing up for another rehearsal. Working with kids mean that you work with a lot of stuff. CDs, t-shirts, lesson plans, CD players, keyboards, song sheets – you name it, we are probably carting it around. Because we have so many kids, we are bringing a lot of stuff to a lot of different places. I like to think of it as the not-so-glamorous part of Kids Choir. It’s easy to get lost in the details of setting up classrooms and hauling carts across the building.

Here’s a little secret: it’s the mundane, repetitive, set-up type things that make it easy for a volunteer to walk into your room and teach a class after working eight hours that day. It’s those signs that you set up outside of the classroom door every. single. week. that put parents at ease when they drop off their child to learn about praise and worship. It’s those crayons inside the bucket you took the time to replenish that make a fun, welcoming activity that starts off the hour just right for the kids around you.

Kids Choir is about praise and worship and teaching children to bury the Word of God in their hearts. Don’t let the smallness of your task diminish the eternal impact you are making on the next generation.

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08
Aug
11

The World’s Greatest Job

CBC’s Christmas musical “We Celebrate the King” is now published by Lillenas Music and we recently took a bus up to Kempke Music Service’s summer conference to premiere it. For me it was a “pinch me” kind of moment. As a worship pastor, I have attended many reading sessions, plowing through reams of music searching for new songs. As a composer, I have been known to dream “someday it would really be awesome if I had some music published and we were reading through it.” Being able to present the music live was even better. I had my picture taken next to the stack of books. I was like a tacky tourist and I didn’t care.

We included several kids in the premiere and the energy and charisma they brought was palpable. The kids know how to use their chest voices, they all have great stage presence,  they know what worship is, and they let it rip. It’s unusual to hear and see kids sing like they do and the worship pastors in the room responded enthusiastically to them. You couldn’t help but be taken in by their authentic love for Jesus.

Being with the kids for two days was energizing as well. We played games, we screamed in a thunderstorm when the lights flickered, they entertained the wait staff at Denney’s and sang in pristine three-part a cappella harmony for the. They beheaded a Happy Meal Barbie. Hanging with them will make me forever young. As they sang through four albums of kids choir music on the way home at the top of their lungs I realized anew that my calling was the greatest joy of my life. I am forever grateful to the Lord for the privilege of leading them into His presence, for allowing me to empower them to minister, that I get to teach them to use their gifts for God’s glory.

When I was their age, I was asked to learn a song for the premiere of a Christmas musical somewhere in Houston. I think the name of the ‘cantata’ was “The Glory of Christmas;” the name of the song was “Christmas Isn’t Christmas.” I distinctly remember singing the solo at the event and knowing it was a big deal kind of moment. Little did I know that I would grow up to be a worship pastor that would give a handful of kids the same big deal kind of moment.

Eight of the ten kids are moving on to our brand new middle school choir, Ignite, debuting this fall and I will miss them terribly. I laugh now to think I was afraid that after my own kids graduated out of the program that I might lose some of the passion I have for kids choir. But it’s only getting stronger.  There’s no doubt I will fall in love with the next crop of kids. I will throw parties for them and take them to do historical things and we will laugh together and sing at the top of our lungs, too.

So blessings to Logan and Lillie and Xan and Megan and Andrew and Miranda and Mallorie and Emma. And you will see the Barbie head again.

22
May
11

The Next Generation

Psalm 78:4 We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Psalm 79:13 We will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.

I love verses about raising up the next generation. I am a spiritual and musical product of my grandparents and parents, my aunts and uncles pouring into me the truth of scripture and the power of worship. Obviously my former pastors, choir directors, and Sunday School teachers did the same, and I am very grateful to them all.
When I see generations come together to lead worship, it thrills me. It gives me great hope for the future. It is the reason I do what I do. I love working with adults, but seeing worship come alive in a child and experiencing worship leading from a teen is life changing.

At CBC our worship ministry is based on these precepts. Teach someone else to do what you do. Start them young and give them authority to lead when they are ready. Multiply yourself. As I stood onstage at Easter with Puresound, our Youth Choir behind me, the significance was not lost on me. Most of the youth leaders are a product of a Kids Choir ministry. All of the dancers except the two oldest professional dancers grew up at CBC dancing in Kids Choir worship events. It’s working…
I usually hold a recital for piano and voice students at the end of a semester. Last Christmas instead of a recital, I took students to a nursing home to play and sing Christmas carols and worship songs. This spring I took it a step further and my students will lead worship at a CBC multi-site. At the rehearsal they sang with conviction and excellence in pristine three part harmony. They will boldly worship, some will speak out about their love for the Lord, some will play instruments, some will ad lib, some will pray. They will all lead out on a song. I will even have one of my own sons come with us to sing (the other has a baseball tournament…) It’s working…

Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

Thank You, Lord.

12
May
11

A mid-year New Year’s Day

At about this time last year, I talked on my personal blog about the summer being my version of New Year’s. I say that because, if your ministry is anything like ours, it runs in a semester-type format. Everybody in our department has school-aged children, so we operate on a school calendar mentality. For kids, we have only fall and spring semesters and take the summer off. In fact, we try to end in mid-April or early May because we know how busy this time of year gets for parents and it’s nice to give them a break. But the planning for a large program never stops. Our dates for 2011-2012 are already on the calendar. I’ve begun choosing songs and creating curriculum for the first & second graders this fall (and next spring). I’m close to designing the registration forms for next year…because we start online on July 1. We have to get together as a team and choose themes and logos. And of course, there is camp and VBS to look forward to.

Personally, this is always a time of renewal for me. It’s a time where we can take a deep breath after an action-packed year. I say that this is my New Year because it is a time where I evaluate my progress towards last year’s goals – both professionally and at home – and make new ones for the coming year. Most importantly, though, it is when I stop and take stock of the activities I have going on in my life so that I can make sure I have chosen things that inspire and motivate me. And on the flip side of that, I can retire the activities that leave me feeling drained and unfulfilled. Whether you do it now, in the mid-summer lull, or on the actual New Year’s Day, all people in ministry need to take that break, a few days for self-evaluation to determine what works and what doesn’t. Because let’s face it – we all know that old rule about 15% of the people doing 85% of the work. I don’t know about you, but as a ministry-minded person, I tend to find myself in that 15% a LOT. In other programs here at church, at the PTA, in the school choir or booster clubs…you name it. I find that at the end of the year, I have collected a weird assortment of odd jobs and board positions simply because nobody else was there to say yes, and so I did. Well guess what? If you don’t take the time to lay some of that load down, it’s just going to get heavier and heavier as you progress. Eventually your ministry (and your sanity) is going to suffer.

So take time for yourself this year. Sooner, rather than later. For me, the process is prayer, lists (which should surprise nobody who knows me), serious introspection, and a talk with my husband. I come out refreshed and excited about the coming school year. I hope you do, too.

03
Mar
11

Bring My Praise

In our adult choir rehearsals at CBC we begin with a time of worship. It moves our minds from the busy pace of the day to the things of God, it prepares our hearts to hear from Him, and sets the stage for Him to work throughout the rehearsal.

I do the same thing with Kids Choirs. Beginning with a fast song with fun choreography gets the wiggles out and captures their attention. We read a Bible verse out loud and I use stories they can identify with. We may talk about superheroes or puppies, soccer or Spongebob, video games or Taylor Swift. Then I translate that idea to a concept on God’s character or an aspect of worship. We end with a worship song and pray out loud together. I keep the whole thing very interactive and as tangible as possible.

A few weeks ago, the 5th grade kids arrived particularly rowdy from their hip hop class. After the first worship song, the presence of God had settled them down and I said “Listen! Look around you! Do you remember how chaotic it was in here 5 minutes ago? Now we are peaceful and ready to learn. The presence of the Lord brings order and sharpens our minds and attention.”

After the worship set each week, my friend Jennifer leads the music teaching portion for the 5th grade choir. She said recently “Tonight was different.” I said “How? Were they more attentive? Did they sing better?” When she said yes to both, I said, “It’s the worship. They are really beginning to understand what worship is, and His presence is changing them.” That is worth more to me than any other accomplishment. On the planet.

Last night, our devotion was on the song “Bring My Praise” which will be released in April. I wrote the song after hearing songwriter/worship leader Michael Neale speak about the importance of every choir member. Here is an excerpt from the devotion:

Did you know that God put a heart of praise in every single one of you? God created you to praise Him and no one can do it for you. Look at the person beside you. Do they look like you? Do they act like you? If God wanted us all to praise Him the same way He would have made us all the same. But He didn’t! Each of us is special to God. Let’s read this verse from Psalm 139:16: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” No one can praise Him like you can. No one can serve Him like you can. No one can love Him like you can. You may think “If I don’t praise Jesus, who cares?” I care and God cares, and if you don’t praise God, then part of His praise is missing. Let’s not leave Jesus wanting our praise. Let’s praise Him together right now.

You knew me before I was born / You made me special in Your eyes
You taught me how to sing Your praise / You listen when I call Your name

No one else can bring my praise but me / No one else can give my offering
You have put a love song deep inside of me / No one else can bring my praise but me

God will miss your praise if you don’t bring it to Him. You are special. He loves you and wants to hear. From you.

Bring My Praise (c) 2011 – Amanda B. Singer

21
Feb
11

CBC’s Kids Choir Revolution

Did you know that you can get a rocking kids music, split-tracks, and lead sheets from CBC Music’s online store?

Developing, maintaining, and promoting awareness of the music available from our Kids Choir has filled every spare second of my work time for the last several months. I have immersed myself in Facebook ads, search optimization techniques, flash media players, online shopping baskets…if it involves an online store or social media, I’ve probably done some sort of research on it.

You see, over the years here at CBC, we have completely changed the way we thought about how to run a kids choir program. Part of it was thinking intentionally – from almost the beginning, we have had our kids choir divided into two (now three) separate choirs. Clearly, what works for a kindergarten class will not translate to a sixth grader. Not to mention that at some point, you run out of a place large enough to hold your whole choir at once. Each group has programming targeted specifically to their needs, but tied together with one vision – to teach kids about worship. Not to teach kids about music, but about worship.

Part of it was necessity – we simply had too many children enrolled for the typical “program-in-a-box” curriculum to work for us. When you have 600+ kids enrolled, it isn’t economically feasible to do crafts that cost $1/child each week. It is logistically impossible to play the suggested games or do the class activities geared to work in a program with 25-30 kids.

But I would say the biggest factor in creating our current system is vision. From our Senior Pastor, who allows our kids the privilege of being worship leaders in “big church” and not performers…on down to every staff member, past and present, who share a passion in raising up a generation of worshippers. A big part of that is being able to meet kids where they are – creating music that is reminiscent of what they are hearing on the secular radio by listening to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga ourselves; choosing songs for our middle group that are easy enough to let them have the freedom to have fun in worship, but aren’t “baby” songs; allowing our tiniest group to choose friends to be in their classrooms so they feel comfortable in what might be their first extra-curricular activity.

As you might guess, finding music to fill all of those needs is challenging. For our younger groups, we still use existing music for the most part. Typically, we pick a yearly theme, choose songs from different projects, and write our own curriculum to build a semester. That works really well until about 2nd grade. For our older elementary choir, it’s not just the curriculum that is custom-designed…about 50-75% of the songs that they learn are CBC originals. 100% of the songs have been rearranged and re-tracked to sound fresh and relevant to music they hear every day. Sometimes we add raps written by one of our staff members. We’ve done a mash-up of two different songs. We let the soloists ad lib (to a certain extent). We are constantly trying to find ways to help engage kids in worship by creating music they want to sing. We don’t want to teach a child a song for a few months. We want them to hide those words in their heart for a lifetime.

Out of this mindset, a lot of music was born. We know there are other churches out there that have similar needs, so we are trying our hardest to get resources online and get the word out. I hope you enjoy the fruits of our prayer, passion, and time by visiting us at http://www.cbcmusicstore.com and getting some great kids music. And pass the word along.

24
Jan
11

Leave a Legacy

This past weekend I attended a “homecoming” in Gadsden, Alabama at my home church, 12th Street Baptist. I started attending there in high school on my own with my brother and some friends and the music ministry there under the direction of Lynn Madden, then David Prevost, changed the direction of my life. The musical excellence from Lynn encapsulated my music education in high school and the heart of worship David demonstrated ignited a fire in me to discover what true worship is. The strong Bible knowledge and theology and foundational truths I received from my pastor Troy Morrison and countless Sunday school teachers made me what I am today.

We kicked off Kids Choir last week. We began by rehearsing a small group that sang at the Spurs game and I had to shoo some of the older kids out of my classroom to go back to their group. “But we want to stay in here with you…”. Flattering – yes, but healthy – no. My job is to pour Jesus into them, not become the Pied Piper of Kids Choir. Also, Puresound introduced a song I wrote that they will record this spring. Several teenagers told me later “we really like it and we thought that sounded like an Amanda Singer song.” I am leaving a legacy…because someone left one for me.

As you minister to kids and teens in any capacity, the truths you pour into them are forever. The love you show them is forever. The empowerment you bestow on them is forever. In Kids Choir, I let them “teach” each other. I let them lead choreography, or help sing parts, or give a testimony, or pray a prayer of salvation for others to repeat. I strive to grow leaders that will impact their world for Jesus. By the time they leave the 6th grade, I want them to leave a legacy for their younger choir members to follow.

I praise God that my legacy will last long after I’m gone. But a legacy that continues from generation to generation will continue forever, until we stand in front of the throne, worshipping together, worshipping the One whom it was all for.




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