We’ve been memorizing a hymn a month for several years now. That’s a lot of great songs committed to memory. During this time, I’ve learned a lot about memorizing hymns with kids and wanted to share my seven best tips with you!
1. Pick a Song with a Chorus
Some of the songs we’ve memorized didn’t have a chorus. They were 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.
2. Be Consistent
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!
Make it part of your daily routine. Sing in the car. Sing when you’re feeding animals or taking a quick walk.
3. 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. We’ve even selected a couple that we don’t know.
When that’s the case, we do much better if we listen to the hymn several times. It helps us learn the tune.
I’ll also have my oldest daughter, Jayme, play the song for us on the recorder. It helps her practice her music skills and gives us another opportunity to listen.
4. Review Previous Hymns
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 to pull out for ideas. We tend to sing a lot of them when we are on road trips. Reviewing these songs is a great way to pass some miles.
5. Talk About the Meaning
These hymns are full of wonderful praises to the Lord, and we want our kids to understand that this music is worship. 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. It’s a fun way to add new vocabulary words to our days as well.
6. Keep It Up
There are months when we don’t successfully at memorize a hymn 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.
7. 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 habit 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 and it’s easy to pull out the list and see which hymn is next on the first of each month.
I’ll be sharing my 2019-2020 list of memory hymns soon!
As more of our kids have become better readers, investing in additional copies of hymnals and chorus books has been important. That way my readers can all follow along. When they’re looking at the words to read them while singing, it really helps them learn the words quickly!
Here are a few of our favorites…
Do you memorize hymns with kids? I’d love to hear what ones are your favorite, or have you add your tips for teaching them in the comment section below.
This post was originally published in June of 2016. Since we are still memorizing a song each week, I wanted to update it to reflect some new tips for you!