The Power of Primary songs
June 2024

Digital Only

The Power of Primary Songs

The author lives in Idaho, USA.

My daughter’s experience at a nursing home helped me realize the broad reach that Primary music can have to bless the life of every person.

children looking at the Children’s Songbook

When I was first called as a Primary music leader, I was petrified. Although I’d taken piano and sang in group numbers, I’d never conducted a song in my life. For the first month of my calling, I dreaded that part of Sunday because I didn’t feel qualified.

At the time, my 21-year-old daughter, KennaDee, was working in a Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing home. KennaDee loves to sing, and she did it often at work. She sang showtunes as the residents ate lunch. She also sang the official songs of the military branches they had served in and took requests during lunch (including a Christian hymn she didn’t know at first but learned for one resident).

One female resident had lived a life full of abuse. She was combative and would not let the caregivers feed, bathe, or dress her. She would fight against taking her medications and any kind of physical exam. One day, acting upon inspiration, my daughter sang her Primary songs from the Children’s Songbook. The woman calmed immediately. She showed a light of recognition in her eyes. The employees discovered that this woman would cooperate as long as KennaDee sang Primary songs. They could dress, bathe, and feed her and give her medications with little struggle or resistance. KennaDee even taught some Primary songs to the other staff members so they could help this woman when KennaDee wasn’t working.

After hearing my daughter’s stories, I realized another reason why the calling of Primary music leader is so vital. My attitude changed as I more fully understood that music, especially religious music, may be the only thing that helps children through their deepest trials in life. I made it my goal to teach the children as many songs about Jesus Christ as I possibly could. The children may not remember a single Primary or sacrament meeting talk, they may not remember specific lessons, and some may later stray from the covenant path, but they will likely remember the songs they learned and how the songs make them feel. In the case of this woman, she remembered those songs even when she didn’t remember her own family! Please know how important this calling is!