Sing the Story

When telling a story to small children you need to be animated. Telling the story of the Three Little Pigs to a kindergarten class, for example, must not be told with an emotionless face. The children would climb the furniture, bored out of their minds. You must keep their attention. They should, in response to your incredible story-telling, be eager for the next part, afraid of the big bad wolf, interested in the different houses of the three oinkers, and ready for anything else exciting in the story. Thus, you change your voice with each character, you use arm gestures, and you huff and puff.

It’s much the same as singing a song. You are telling a story, one that you want your listeners to hear and be moved by. Really emote so your audience concentrates on the words of your song, not just the beauty of the voice. I’m not talking about looking ridiculous. I’m talking about telling the story with your face and using arm gestures that emphasize your words, keeping open to feeling the words yourself so that the audience is enthralled with not only the voice but with the how, what, and why, of the words you are expressing.

One thing that really gets my goat is seeing a church choir look like they are singing for a funeral than singing for the glory of God. I have seen, on so many occasions, choirs singing about the joy of the Lord with not a smile on one choir member’s face. This really is uninviting to those in attendance and does not lend itself to a good worship experience. The choir members or praise team are the lead worshippers. If you find that worship isn’t happening, take a look at the ones leading the worship. Are they truly inviting people to have an encounter with God or are they just singing by rote? People, sing like you love Jesus! If you are not doing so, you need to re-evaluate why you are singing in the choir in the first place. If it means you must stop singing in the group for a while and work on your relationship with God, do it. You are not doing any favors to anyone else by just being a body. Now, some directors may not be happy with my opinion. Who wants to lose voices in their choir? But, I would rather have a small group that sings with joyous spirits, than have a large group that gets in the way of true worship.

For the choir, for the small group, for the soloist – the notes you sing are important, but so is the text. If you want to keep your audience riveted, tell the story. If in the process of how you express yourself you cause someone cry, laugh, or feel something, your job is complete. What you have accomplished is worthwhile. Don’t just be noteworthy, sing the story.

7 thoughts on “Sing the Story

  1. As I read this I thought back to the very few times I remember my mom reading to me and she did none of the gestures, changing voices with each character etc. It was “read” to me not read and acted out. I often wonder if that was partly why i learned to read at a very young age. I was reading at a 2nd grade level in kindergarten. But i read my books the same way my mom read to me. I just read the word to learn the story to get to the ending and i seldom read the same book ever again (only exception was my Winnie the Pooh books) I did not won many books as we were poor but I got to go to the library every week and i remember coming home every week with around 20 books and they were read by the time we went back again that next weekend. I also never read out loud because neither mom or dad wanted to hear what I was reading and my reading out loud would interfere with my dads tv watching. I was raised to be NON-dramatic. To NEVER draw attention to myself. So I never learned how to be outwardly creative when it came to words.

    1. Hi Teresa! My parents never had time to read to us. There were five of us kids. I hardly ever read. I didn’t realize until I went to college that I was dyslexic. I thought I was just dumb, because I could never remember what I read. I had and still have trouble reading aloud. My comprehension is much better now.
      Mom didn’t have time to take us to the library. So I get it. Loves

    2. I hope you have found your “dramatic side” by now. My children read at an early age as well. We read in Kindergarten (I remember Dick and Jane and Spot…) The teacher had a book the size of a poster board (or larger) and we all had little books to follow along. I can’t remember reading to my parents, and I don’t remember my children reading to me (of course, I can’t remember where I left my glasses, either) But we had weekly trips to the library, and books were important! We even had “fine forgiveness” if a book got carried past its due date. Anything to keep the kids learning and reading!

  2. Agreed. Bringing life to the words will make children eager to read. I know a man whose Mother would not use any expression in her voice, and he never learned to enjoy reading. My mom always told the story in voices, motions, expressions, and I love to read.
    And I heartily agree about the choirs. But it applies to Christians in their daily living as well. If thinking about the Lord doesn’t bring a smile to your face, maybe you need to examine your heart. I told someone, “If you have the joy of the Lord in you, tell your face!” (He didn’t appreciate the comment. Which said a lot about his relationship with the Lord.)
    We serve an amazing God. We should express that awe in our lives, our words, our actions. Sing for joy!

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