...and accompany our songs

I can't sing or play the piano or guitar! How can I use Prelude songbooks and visual aid kits?

The first thing to realize is that you almost certainly can sing; it's just that you've been singing in a key that's too high or low for you, or singing songs that are too difficult. Or perhaps you were told once that you didn't have a "good voice."

Nonsense! Your voice is a part of you, and the children with whom you sing want to have a relationship with you, not your voice. Plus, the songs in Prelude books are pitched in a comfortable range.

All Prelude music has a single line of melody with letters above that indicate the chords for accompaniment. You can use an autoharp or the electronic counterpart, the Q-Chord; with both, you can simply press the key that matches the letter we print above the melody line.

OR you can take the songs you want to use to a friend who plays the piano or guitar. The music teacher at your school could help you, as could the music leader at a house of worship. Take a tape recorder and blank tape and ask them to record the song for you. If you want to raise or lower the "key" (so you can sing the song higher or lower), a pianist or guitarist should be able to do that for you with no trouble.

REMEMBER that most Prelude songs have places for the children/students to give responses, play instruments, or manipulate visual aids. You need to pause the music so that each child has the time to participate. If you have someone record the songs for you (your "accompanist"), do one of three things: (a) use the tape to learn the song and practice singing (a great rush-hour activity!), then sing without the accompaniment when you use the song in class or for therapy; (b) have the accompanist pause at appropriate places and for the necessary length of time as he or she plays; or (c) have the accompanist leave just enough of a break at the appropriate places so you can push the "pause" button on your tape player each time you ask a student to give a response.

Sing your Prelude songs slowly and clearly! If you don't think you're a particularly good singer, you may be tempted to rush through, singing quietly. Your children and students will respond much more positively, however, if you slow down and sing emphatically -- and you may be surprised to discover that you actually sound better when you do!

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