About these Songs
Songs are an important medium of communication. They are used to share and pass on some of the deepest thoughts, aspirations and ideals of any civilisation. They are used to express and to teach religious faith. More specifically, they have always played a prominent role in Christian worship, fellowship and nurture.
I love singing and I believe in singing. I believe that singing plays an important role in our Christian Education programmes with children. However, one thing has puzzled me. Educationally, we have believed that children learn through stories rather than directly from concepts. And yet so many of the choruses we have sung with young children in the past have been conceptual in their content. I believe that in general songs for children should teach Biblical concepts through the medium of Biblical stories.
It was in 1976, while serving in the Stanthorpe Parish, that the first of these songs, "Zacchaeus" (29), was written as a class project. Each class added a line or two (with help, I admit) until by the end of the week it was finished, complete with tune. This was followed by a more major project in which older Primaries produced a song of ten long stanzas on the life of David. They really identified with this song, even though we would only have sung the complete song through about two or three times at the end of that term! As a teaching medium it had been highly successful, even though as a song for regular use it was far too cumbersome! It did not pass into general use, and has not been included in this collection.
Most of the songs were written over the next three years to accompany a number of Religious Education series I was preparing. Impetus was also given by Rev. Ron Clark, then Children/Family Staff Worker with Scripture Union in Queensland. Ron heard "Damascus" (34) and "Philippi" (35) and requested ten such choruses to fit the themes of his after-school programmes (G-Kids) and later another six for a Vacation Bible School course. Later Mr Edward Free of Pocket Testament League heard the G-Kids cassette and inquired about some songs for use in his children's work.
In 1979 (on the eve of our departure from Stanthorpe!) the songs were gathered together under the present title. The general arrangement was (and is) based broadly on the flow of Biblical history. In this edition, additional songs have been added in a way that preserves the original numbering.
About the words. Over a number of years I have made consistent use of the Good News Bible in Christian Education programmes. The words and phrases of these songs often reflect this version. The metre is often irregular and the music is arranged as for the first verse.
About the music. Most of these tunes were originally written as a melody line and a few simple chords. In writing out the harmony additional chords have been introduced which add interest to the music. For a simple guitar accompaniment many of these can be omitted. On the other hand, in a number of instances the chords are not exactly equivalent to the harmony. Thanks is expressed to Mr Graeme Parkinson for his practical help in this area in the 1979 edition.
Peter J. Blackburn
Sing Along, Moses! Songs for Children © Peter J. Blackburn, 1979, 1993 ISBN 0 9589794 2 1