As I was downloading the newest curriculum from Celebrating Grace for our 1st-2nd Grade Choir, I noticed that they have a hymn emphasis as one of their curriculum's components! I'm really excited about this because it ties in with my plans to use hymns this year as a teaching tool to help our kids learn to read the music on the staff. So many of the songs the kids typically sing today have rhythms that are way to complex for the kids to actually read from sheet music. As a result, those songs can only be taught by rote. This has it's place, but they will never reach their fullest potential as musicians unless they learn to read from printed music.
What I've come to realize is that the hymn book is full of wonderful songs that are musically appropriate to teach beginning musicians how to follow along on the staff. The added benefit is that the kids are also learning doctrine from the hymns, and they are also learning the historical songs of the church. It is a win-win situation.
The awesome folks over at Celebrating Grace are way ahead of me. Each semester in their graded choir curriculum they include several hymns - providing printable melody line sheets for the kids, full accompaniment sheets for the pianist, demonstration CD's for the kids to hear how the song goes (with kids singing in a proper but not affected manner), and accompaniment trax for the songs. Cool. (To be fair, the hymn emphasis is just a small part of their curriculum, but I love that they are including this component in addition to all the other musical and doctrinal things they are teaching the kids through music.) Their company is certainly worth a look if you are looking for a quality way to enhance your children's choir ministry. www.Celebrating-Grace.com