For many years, we supplied the parents with the words of the songs the children were working on so that they could help the children at home between practices. This worked well when we had a lot of older cherubs who could handle the words fairly well with a little help. Then in the early 1990s we had a particularly young group who needed more help if we were to sing in worship at least once a month.
Our solution was to make practice tapes of the music that the parents could play for them in the car, at home or wherever between practices. Many of the children could manage to pop the tape into the cassette player for themselves. It not only helped the little ones but also the older ones too by reinforcing the words and tune. Instead of just the half-hour practice once a week, only part of which is devoted to "work" pieces, the children were hearing the pieces over and over throughout the week so learning was accelerated. Starting in 2009, we evolved to creating CDs and putting MP3 files on the web site.
On most of the recordings Margaret sings and I accompany
on the accordion. She sits close to the microphone and I am usually
positioned further away. Thus the emphasis is on the voice, the melody
and the words. We have found from experience that some children have
trouble singing the tune with my voice because of the different register
(bass). Over the years, some parents have found they have filled
up almost two 90 minute cassettes with very little repetition and now the
CDs are well populated with the songs we are learning plus many others.
We still supply the words just to make sure that the children don't make
errors in listening to the CDs. We're only sorry we didn't think
of doing this 30 years ago!