By Kimball Vaughn
Feb 15, 2018

Program Feature for LDS Youth: Music

Pitch, Tempo, and Rhythm

Music is essentially thoughts and feelings expressed through sound and rhythm. Joy, celebration, happiness, anger, sorrow, fear, love—the list of emotions that can be expressed by music could go on and on.

This article features the program module from Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews Volume 2. (You can also read this article for more information on how to plan using the program resources.) For more ideas, you can also check out the LDS Youth Arts, Music, and Dance section.

As you embark on a journey of musical exploration, you will discover how music reflects culture. Every part of the world can be identified by its “sound.” Whether you create music, build instruments, or simply sit back and enjoy the artistry of others, you will have had a magical experience. May this journey inspire you and those who share in your musical endeavor.

Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3

Meeting Plans & Ideas: Music

This month’s activities should:

  • Help Youth learn about the five groups of musical instruments.
  • Give Youth knowledge of musical symbols and terminology.
  • Prepare Youth to go to a live performance or participate in a performance.
  • Give Youth the opportunity to compose music.
  • Teach Youth how to catalog a personal or family music collection.
  • Help Youth learn about the development of music and influential musicians in the United States.

As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing music as your program feature during your planning meetings.

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable meeting planning form.
  • Do young men and women in our ward have musical interests and abilities?
  • Would our unit benefit from the opportunity to share musical talents with the community?
  • Are there any music teachers or other individuals in the music profession who could help?
  • Do we have local venues that host live performances such as symphony orchestras, opera, choral music, or pop music?
  • Do our schools have music programs where members of the unit can participate in a musical group such as band, choir, or orchestra?
  • Does a member of our unit have the ability to compose music?
  • If we were to build traditional musical instruments, is there someone in the area who is good with tools and could assist?
  • How can we involve our parents?
  • What changes should we make to the sample meeting plans that would fit our needs better?


Preopening Ideas on Program Resources

  • As young men and women arrive, challenge them to sort flash cards of musical instruments into groups. Have music playing in the background to set the tone for the night. If possible, use several interpretations of a familiar song in different genres.
  • Prepare flash cards of musical notation such as quarter notes and rests, half notes and rests, etc., and cards with the names of each of these symbols. Have the youth organize them side by side, matching notation with the description. Have music playing in the background that resembles the music they’ll be performing or listening to or that relates to the instruments they will be building or that comes from an individual family’s music collection.
  • Play Musical Chairs using excerpts of the music that will be featured at the concert your unit will attend or the genres you discussed last week.


Opening Ideas on Program Resources


Genres and Composers

  • Introduce the group to the different possible main events. Have them discuss what main event they may want to pursue.

Instruments and Ensembles

  • Practice identifying instruments in the five different musical groups. Use flash cards, and have the members shout out the names. For an added challenge, include less familiar instruments like the basset horn or zither.

Collecting Music

  • Learn three songs that you could teach to a primary class.

Mood and Meaning

  • Lead a session of echo clapping, starting with four-beat rhythm patterns and progressing to eight-beat patterns.


3 Categories

Genres and Composers


  • Research different musical groups in your area that perform in these genres.
  • Discuss different genres in music.


  • Review the information above.
  • Discuss which young men and women have musical ability and could participate in a recital. Find out which genres they like to perform.


  • Talk about music composers over the centuries.
  • Listen to recordings of the music.
  • Try to identify characteristics of the period in which they wrote

Instruments and Ensembles


  • Using the Internet or other sources, determine the instrument makeup of various ensembles (symphony orchestra, string quartet, jazz band, rock band).


  • Look over printed music for various instruments, and discuss any instrument-specific characteristics.
  • Review the information above.


  • Discuss how leadership plays a role in musical ensembles. Who sets the tempo? Is there a director, as in an orchestra, or does one of the players direct? Who leads each section of larger ensembles?

Collecting Music


  • Catalog a collection of CDs or music playlist belonging to one of your young men or women, or review how a collection of audio files is organized in a program like iTunes or Spotify.


  • Using the Internet or other sources, find a favorite artist’s discography. Discuss ways to complete your collection of the artist’s works.


  • Discuss the ethics of file-sharing and illegal downloads.
  • Review the information above.

Mood and Meaning


  • Brainstorm a list of moods. Using someone’s CD or MP3 collection, find songs or other compositions that convey those moods and discuss how music translates those moods.


  • Read the lyrics of several popular songs. Discuss how the lyrics support the mood of the song and whether the music and lyrics communicate the same mood.
  • Review the information above.


  • Identify several songs or compositions that have become identified with a particular country, political movement, or cause. Using the Internet or other sources, learn more about those connections.


Discussion Topics

  • Discuss what needs to be accomplished before the main event.

Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning (if applicable)
  • Duty Roster Planning (if applicable)
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event.

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge


Library of Games and Challenges on Program Resources

  • Symphony Orchestra
    Materials: Chairs
    Method: Youth seat themselves in a circle of chairs in a large room or open outdoor area. There should be enough chairs for all the young men and women but one; that young man or woman is the “conductor.” Everyone else is assigned a type of instrument by going around the circle and saying, “Wind, percussion, brass, string, electronic,” until everyone has a label. The conductor stands in the middle of the circle and calls out a type of instrument. When he or she does so, everybody assigned to that group must get up and scramble to find another seat. The conductor, meanwhile, also tries to get a seat. Whichever young man or woman is left standing becomes the new conductor, and the old conductor assumes the other person’s instrument type.
    Variation: Assign everyone an actual instrument instead of an instrument group (e.g. bass drum instead of percussion). Call out instrument groups as before; young men and women must then figure out which group they belong in.
  • Name That Tune
    Materials: CD or MP3 player with an assortment of music, 30-second timer, bell or buzzer for each patrol
    Method: Play a musical selection. Patrols try to buzz in and name the song.
    Variations: If you have recordings of instrumental solos,
    teams can try to name the instruments or instrument groups. If you have recordings of various genres of music, teams can try to name the genres they hear. (Keep these broad: classical, jazz, pop/rock, gospel, etc.)
    – Scoring: Each correct guess earns a point; first team to score 10 points wins.
  • Rhythm Pattern Contest
    Materials: A large chalkboard or dry erase board, chalk or dry erase pens, erasers
    Method: A leader claps out a simple, four beat rhythm pattern consisting of quarter notes and eighth notes. Patrols echo the pattern. Once the pattern is well-defined, patrols select a member to come up to the chalk board and write out the pattern with the correct combination of quarter notes and eight notes. A different patrol member is selected for each round.
    Scoring: The first patrol to correctly write the pattern gets two points, All patrols who can correctly write the pattern get one point.
  • Minute to Win It
    Station 1: a collection of 10 to 20 CDs of various artists and genres
    Station 2: paper and pencil
    Station 3: flash cards that show the names of instruments by family (percussion, woodwind, brass, string, electronic) and each member of each family (e.g., soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone)
    Station 4: CD or MP3 player with a collection of pop songs
    Station 5: music rhythm flash cards that build the rhythm tree (one whole note, two half notes, four quarter notes, eight eighth notes, 16 sixteenth notes) along with a similar set for rests
    Method: Set up stations as described above. Patrols visit the stations, and as a team, work together to do the following:
    Station 1: Organize the CDs in alphabetical order by title in less than a minute.
    Station 2: On a piece of paper write the order of dynamics from soft to loud, Italian terms for tempo from slow to fast, and all five musical families in less than a minute. (Dynamics are pianissimo (pp), piano (p), mezzo piano (mp), mezzo forte (mf), forte (f), and fortissimo (ff). Italian terms include grave (extremely slow), largo (very slow), andante (at a walking pace), moderato (moderately), allegro (quick and bright), and presto (extremely fast). Musical families are percussion, woodwind, brass, string, and electronic.
    Station 3: In one minute, sort the cards by family (woodwind, brass, string, etc.) and then put each family in order from highest pitch to lowest.
    Station 4: Identify as many one- or two-second song snippets as possible in one minute.
    Station 5: Set up the cards with the whole note on top, two half notes below the whole note, four quarter notes below the half notes, etc. Do the same with rests.
    – Scoring: Patrols are timed at each station. Give 3 points to the fastest patrol that completes the challenge at each station correctly, 2 points to the second fastest, and 1 point to the third fastest. The patrol with the most points overall wins.


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