I love music. I was a music major in college. I know how powerful it can be as a teaching tool. And I love using motions in music. Not everyone does and that's ok. We must all lead worship the way that works best for us. But I want to share why I feel motions are so important in children's worship.
Motions help memorization in young learners
When I lead worship, I have children as young as 3 and as old at 12 in the service. That means that a large group of the children in the service either can not read yet, or can not read fast enough to follow the words on the screen. Motions help them remember the words to the song. I tend to use the same motion for certain words in nearly every song we do. So, for example, if we do a motion for "Jesus" in one song, it will probably be the same motion in another song. The same goes for words like "Mighty", "Strong", or a lot of other common phrases in music. Those who can not read, can remember those motions and it helps them to learn the music.
Motions create more freedom in worship
How many times have you been sitting in an adult worship service and you don't feel like you can even lift your hands in praise because...well...no one else is lifting their hands. We feel like we must fit a certain mold when we sing. Motions encourage movement. It's not just "dancing", it's freely using our bodies in worship. Children NEED to move and using motions gives them that opportunity, but still in a somewhat structured way.
Motions teach leadership skills to older children
I know that probably sounds like an odd thing to say, but it's true. As kids get older, sometimes they start to feel like they are "too old" for motions. But this is an opportunity to teach them about being leaders. It's not about "THEM". The younger kids need the motions in order to learn and remember the songs (see above) and the older kids need to be involved so that the younger kids don't feel out of place or strange for enjoying the motions. Our older kids need opportunities to be examples of leadership and this is just such an opportunity.
I am a huge advocate of motions in music. There is something special that happens when the right motions are put to a song. All of the sudden that song is even more powerful, but "pointless" motions can have the opposite effect on a song. I once did a musical where we had to redo nearly every motion in every song because they literally did not go with the words being sung. In order for them to be helpful, they need to apply. If you are trying to sing about being joyful, then making a frowning face is not going to be a good choice. But neither is jumping up and down for "joy" appropriate if the song is slow. Which motions you choose are as important as which song you choose. So, when creating motions for your music, make sure they add to the worship experience and not just fill space in the song.
If done properly and prayerfully...motions in music can be a huge asset to your ministry.
Until next week!