We’ve been memorizing a hymn a month for almost three years now! That’s a lot of songs committed to memory. I’ve learned a bit about memorizing hymns with kids during this time and wanted to share those discoveries with you.
Pick a Song with a Chorus
Some of the songs we’ve memorized didn’t have a chorus. I found them a lot harder for my younger kids to learn.
When there’s a chorus, there’s a section of song we’re repeating over and over again each time we sing it. It’s the first part everyone memorizes.
So when Bryan and I are picking songs to memorize each year, we tend to select those with a chorus over those without. As the kids get older and more of them can read fluently, it won’t be as big of a deal. But right now, it makes it more enjoyable for the younger kids.
During months When we consistently sing our memory hymn twice a day, we all memorize the song. Not only that, but we can still sing it months later.
Months when life happens, and we’re sick, and we don’t sing, we struggle to even remember the first verse.
So as obvious as it sounds, you actually have to sing the song to commit it to memory!
Listen to the Song If It’s Unfamiliar
Most of the hymns we’ve memorized are familiar. They’re ones we’ve sung at church or listened to on the radio. Those ones are easier to memorize!
Some other hymns aren’t as familiar. When that’s the case, we do much better when we listen to the hymn several times. It helps us learn the tune.
I’ll also have Jayme play the song for us on the piano or recorder. It helps her practice her music skills and gives us another opportunity to listen.
In addition to singing our memory hymn of the month each day, one child gets to pick another song that we’ve learned to review.
We also keep a list of memorized hymns in the bus to pull out and go through when we’re on a drive. Reviewing these songs is a great way to pass some miles.
Talk About the Meaning
These hymns are full of wonderful praises to the Lord, and we want our kids to know that. We frequently talk about the meaning of the words we are singing.
If there’s a word we don’t know, we take time to look it up. That way we understand what we are singing.
Keep It Up
There are months when we fail at learning a song completely. But, instead of giving up, we keep going. We make it a priority to be more consistent the next month.
We continue to practice the hymn that isn’t as familiar, and we just pull out the hymnal again.
We believe there’s value in learning these beautiful hymns, and so we’ll keep learning them.
Have a Plan
If I were to just say we were going to memorize a hymn each month, but never took the time to actually work with my husband to decide which ones, I’m sure this would get thrown to the wayside. Other things would come up, and we’d just forget.
By planning out each month’s song every July, it’s something I don’t have to even think much about. We’ve already had the discussion. We’ve picked songs that coordinate with holidays (like Christmas or Easter). We’re set.
I’m looking forward to picking our songs for the 2016-2017 school year next month. When we get them selected, I’ll be sure to share them with you.
Do you memorize hymns with kids? I’d love to hear what ones are your favorite, or have you add your tips in the comment section below.