Prayer – We have been learning about how to make prayer more accessible and interactive for children. Today, we got a chance to design our own multi-sensory children’s prayer, complete with actions and sound effects! I was so impressed with every group’s ideas. I plan to use prayers like these during Gather Together, Wee Worship and Sharing Faith with Children.
Rhythm and games – In our Pedagogy class, led by Amanda Smith, we learn by doing. We have so much fun doing the games and activities that we don’t even realize that we are learning! Afterwards, we discuss the pedagogical value of the activities and all the different things the children are getting out of them. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a few lines of painter’s tape on the floor!
Anthem planning – Also in Pedagogy, Amanda modeled how to introduce a new anthem to the choir using various steps. Then, we were put in groups and tasked to design a 4-week lesson plan for a different anthem. We collaborated and brainstormed ideas in small groups before coming together as a whole class to share our plan. I look forward to using all I have learned this week to be much more intentional about my planning process in the future.
Conducting – In conducting class, it was my turn to get up in front of the class and conduct the piece “Good Things”. There was another piece I could have chosen, but I found it easier overall and I wanted to challenge myself. Plus, “Good Things” is the piece that I fell apart conducting earlier in the week, so I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Once I stepped up in front of the group, I found that my nerves disappeared and I was completely comfortable. I know the Holy Spirit calmed me so I was able to get the most out of the process and the feedback I received. I left the classroom feeling very empowered to continue my growth as a conductor.
Talk and listen – I have been making so many friends this week. Everyone is so open to meeting new people. The conversations I have had during walks to and from meals, and around the table at meals, have been so inspiring. When I get frustrated or overwhelmed during this upcoming year with life and all of its craziness, I will remember these people and the fact that they are fighting the good fight in the choral trenches all across the country. They are one email away if I need their support.
Ideas for inspiration – During “More Thank Worship”, Heather Potter reminded us that what we do is not simply about the product. It is also about the process. We need to see these children for what they are – unique children of God with their own gifts to offer to the church community. Whatever we do, however we speak, we must strive to set a positive example for our children, so that they are prepared to accomplish works of service in God’s name. In the words of Helen Kemp, “At the center, love must live”.
Congregational worship – I had the opportunity to lead this morning’s prayer service with a wonderful group of women, some Year 2s and some Year 1s. We rehearsed early in the morning and the run-through went great! Before worship started, we lifted our hearts in prayer that this space would be filled with God’s presence. As the service progressed, about 6 things went differently than they did during our run-through. But, most of those unexpected changes made the service better than we had originally imagined it! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering who was actually in the driver’s seat.
Evaluate – Throughout the week, we have been asked to evaluate our practices. What is working? What isn’t? How can we reach these children in a way that no one else in their lives can? Is our room set up effectively? Are we choosing the right anthems? The reflective and evaluative questions do not stop. I know that I will need a mental break when I get back to Williamsburg to process all this information and find meaningful answers. The journey never stops.