For many of us our earliest and often our strongest memories are sensory. Music can play an important part in establishing a positive relationship between young people and worship.
It is important in all age worship to use a variety of music and songs that will suit different ages and styles. The music chosen needs to fit with the theme of the service. Music can be used in a variety of ways from corporate singing and also to listen and reflect. It is good for all ages to be familiar with a number of well known hymns and songs and learn new songs. Younger people may enjoy songs with fewer words and repetition. Some thought may need to be given to introducing and teaching occasional new songs to use in worship. Sung responses can be used in prayers and the communion prayer.
Where children are in separate groups, there may be different songs that can be used that might include actions and be specifically written for that age group.
The songs found on the Same Boat Music website are specially chosen to help churches and faith communities sing and celebrate across the generations.
Here are some areas to bear in mind when using music with children:
What variety of music do we include? Is there more to this song than just a catchy tune? How does this song fit into the theme of the worship?
Who is the song for? Different ages or mixed ages? Consider levels of literacy and styles that your group is comfortable with. Do we offer some songs that our youngest children can access? For example, with freedom to move around, simple words and repetition and often actions.
How can children and young people be involved in planning and leading worship?
Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies
Psalm 8: 1-2
There are a number of channels on YouTube which can be used to teach and accompany children of different ages in music worship.
Fischy Music produce resources suitable for all-age worship, Sunday school groups, uniformed organisations and community groups. These include songs, videos, sheet music, backing tracks, lesson plans and suggested group activities.
The resources are available by annual subscription to an online streaming service Songs for Life or on CDs available from their online shop. Songs for Life includes a search facility with which you can find all the material for a wide range of topics.
Fischy also offer training workshops for adults working with primary-aged children in church contexts including Sunday school and community groups. They help participants explore the power of song and equip them to use Fischy resources regardless of musical confidence or expertise. They also offer childrens' workshops and all-age church and community concerts. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh and fun music resources
Engage and Worship is a wonderful website packed with fresh ideas for worship with children and young people. Explore their vast worship ideas section and refine your search by choosing a theme, media type, or bible reference.
Resound Worship is a free Christian music streaming site with themed playlists. They also have a regular podcast and blog where they feature new music.
Sing with the World is a valuable tool for exploring other cultures with children through the language of music. These songs have been selected and edited by John Bell and Alison Adam, members of the Iona Community in Scotland.