This is Macy Robison
and I am SO excited to have her as one of our monthly contributors. Seriously, just read her post and you will see why.
So you can know a bit about her… Macy has been singing and performing since she could talk. She developed a healthy appreciation for jazz squares and Broadway show tunes as she performed in singing groups and in community theater while growing up in Utah. Her passion for performing continued through college as she majored in Music Dance Theater at Brigham Young University and toured Russia with the BYU Young Ambassadors. Macy went on to earn her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education at Utah State University and The Ohio State University. After a 13-year teaching career spanning three different states teaching music to preschoolers through middle schoolers, she is thrilled to spend her days singing for her kids and capturing images of families and children as a portrait photographer. Her first album, “Children Will Listen,” was released by Shadow Mountain Records in 2011, and she toured the U.S. and Canada with her one woman show of the same name as a presenter with the Time Out for Women tour in 2011 and 2012.
Macy is the mother of two, stepmother of two and mother-in-law of two and currently lives in Austin, Texas with her shiny-armored knight of a husband, Neal. Read more about their adventures at MacyRobison.com.
How Can I Use Church Music to Learn About the Plan of Salvation?
(And some ways to painlessly integrate church music into future lessons.)
I was so thrilled to see this lesson among the Sunday School choices for the month of February.
For me, nothing brings the Spirit more quickly than music. The words of the hymns, when mindfully sung or read, never fail to teach me Gospel principles in a profound way.
As it says in Colossians 3:16, we are invited to teach one another the word of Christ through hymns and spiritual songs. Our church leaders are great examples in this – they consistently using the lyrics from our Hymns and other songs to illustrate points in their Conference addresses. (Don’t believe me? Search for the word “hymn” on LDS.org, and see how many talks pop up.)
Why is this the case?
Why do our leaders use the text from our hymns to teach Gospel truths? I love the answers in this quote from Elder Oaks:
How can we use this powerful preparation to our advantage as teachers?
How do we make more use of our Hymns to teach and learn gospel doctrine?
Study the words of the hymns as a class.
This strategy is given in the materials for this lesson as a chalkboard activity using the hymn, “O, My Father,” but it would also work well as an individual, worksheet based activity or a partner worksheet activity.
(Just click on the picture above and save it to your computer as a PNG image, or here for a PDF: planofsalvation)
In the topic index for the hymnal, there are 15 hymns listed under “Plan of Salvation.” Using this downloadable worksheet, have the class study several of those hymns and teach each other what they learned about the Plan of Salvation from those hymns.
- What did you learn about the Plan of Salvation from these hymns that you didn’t know already?
- What did you hear in the words of these hymns that might make it easier for you to teach a friend about the Plan of Salvation?
This is an excellent strategy that can be used for any gospel topic. Going forward, the class can listen to (or sing!) and analyze the text of any hymn that supports the topic being taught that week – either as a group or individually.
Use the scripture references and other topics to drive the discussion further
One great strategy that is often given in using music as part of a lesson is to look up the scriptures that appear at the bottom of the music for each hymn. Like cross-referencing our scriptures, doing this can teach us a great deal about the text of a hymn and the principle of the gospel being taught.
In addition to the scripture references, the online versions of the hymns also list the other topics where a particular hymn can be found in the topic index. In using these other topics, there are often patterns that emerge that will allow you as a teacher to formulate questions to drive the discussion further.
For example, just glancing through the fifteen hymns that are listed under Plan of Salvation in the hymnal topic index, four of the hymns are songs that are also taught in Primary. (#301 – I Am a Child of God, #300 – Families Can Be Together Forever, #304 – Teach Me To Walk in The Light, #302 – I Know My Father Lives)
Why are hymns about the Plan of Salvation taught in Primary?
- Did you know these songs were about the Plan of Salvation when you were in Primary?
- Because you learned these songs in Primary, what have you known about the Plan of Salvation since you were a small child because of these songs?
This technique can go further.
I took a few minutes and clicked through the hymns listed under Plan of Salvation and saw another pattern among the additional topics. Four of the hymns that are listed under the Plan of Salvation are also listed as Sacramental hymns. (#188 – Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done, #189 – O Thou, Before the World Began, #193 – I Stand All Amazed, #187 – God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son)
Some of the hymns that talk about the Plan of Salvation are also hymns we sing to prepare for the sacrament – why is that?
Children Will Listen is Macy’s personal story, both in song and spoken word. This recording of her unique “cabaret-style” performance from the Time Out for Women tour celebrates the women and mothers in our lives — daughters, stepdaughters, sisters, friends, teachers, wives, stepmothers, daughters-in-law and mothers.
Using songs from Broadway musicals and contemporary songwriters, Macy tells her story of learning what it means to have a mother heart through the trials and challenges that come to all of us.