Unification News for June 2002

The Family Youth Band

by Chad Martin

Three years ago, Yukiko Yakawich, my pastor's wife, asked me to teach her son, John, to play the guitar. I do not know what possessed me to say yes. At the time I knew four chords! We began by practicing together an hour a week. A guitar teacher recommended I buy a tuning fork and a $300 steel-string guitar. He also said I should practice 10 minutes every day.

Three months later I was able to fulfill his suggestion and begin lessons. John and I sing one new song a week for the Sunday service. We usually sing two songs one week performing and the same two songs the next week with the congregation. This approach helps educate the congregation as well as helps develop worship.

Most of our children have volunteered to practice weekly and play in the band, including the four and five year olds. We have a bass and snare drums, a cymbal, maracas, sticks and a tambourine. For a year I used a wind-up metronome with a moving arm to keep the beat. Three of the children are taking piano which help beat, volume and general music skills. The children also sing, even the non-readers.

A friend showed me the key to transposing music from piano to saxophone and trumpet, each of which plays a different note in a different key. We use Wee Sing Bible Songs for children, workshop songs, and Group magazine youth-group songs, which for $60. we received tapes and sheet music with chords.

The band plays at Sunday services, ecumenical services, public events and at the talent shows every two months at the rest home near our church. The band is very inspiring to the audiences as well as to its own members. The children are happy to perform, develop their personal and group skills and to participate in the worship service.

A major reason why the children like the band is the opportunity to develop friendships at each others houses after practice.

Group magazine, in addition to selling some great songs, is the best Christian publication I have ever seen. It is primarily testimonies of Junior High youth leaders and practical suggestions how to relate to youth. Group, P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539. ph: 800-447-1070

If you would like to discuss this topic, contact Chad Martin, 1111 North 31 Street, Billings MT 59101 (406) 259-9241.

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