by Yancy Richmond
With many great summer outreaches on the horizon—like VBS, camps and more—we want to help you use music effectively. Music is a tool for you to connect with kids. It also reinforces the teachings and lessons they are learning and will help what they learn stick and last a lifetime. Here are a few things you can do to help the music and worship times at your VBS come alive after you press “Play.”
- Be prepared.
I’ve been around church world enough to know how much this very important statement is overlooked. It’s not enough to try to learn the songs in the car on your way to church the day your VBS starts. Be prepared. Spend time learning and studying the songs. Let them sink in. Ultimately, you want to know them like the back of your hand. Go ahead and plan out what you want to say to lead these songs too. What will you say before the song starts? How will you transition from one song to another? Think it through. Depending on your experience level, you may even want to write it out to help you collect your thoughts. Do your part! When we do our part, it allows God to do His part to move and speak into the lives of the precious boys and girls that we get the privilege of ministering to this week.
- Be bold.
Remember you are the leader. If you’ve been given the job and task of leading the music, then somebody thinks you should have the job. Sing and lead these songs knowing you’ve been entrusted to do this. Somebody believes in your ability. Don’t be intimidated by the kids in the audience. (I promise they won’t bite . . . most likely!) Sing and speak boldly! You are the leader of these songs so lead your audience to participate along with you.
- Make eye contact.
Look at the kids. Open your eyes. Connect with them. It shows you do have boldness and aren’t scared of the audience. When you look at them, they notice. Sometimes eye contact is the very thing that will encourage them to sing out or clap their hands. A good rule of thumb is to look at someone until the line or thought is finished, then change your eye contact to someone else.
- Give vocal instruction.
One of the best ways to get kids to sing and dance and participate is to tell them what you want them to do. Oftentimes, telling them one time isn’t enough. Think about an aerobics instructor or coach and how they call out and encourage you in what to do. Things like “Sing it again,” “One more time,” “Let me hear you,” “C’mon, clap your hands,” etc., are all great things to insert between lines or before a new part or repeat. Also, ask questions of the audience that demand a verbal response. Repeat the question, if needed, to get the response desired. It’s an easy way to get the kids involved in what you’re doing!