When Sadie was 13, she decided to work on Knowledge value experience 6 for Personal Progress. Sadie was going to memorize two hymns, learn the conducting patterns, and lead them in Young Women meetings.
One of the best places to practice was in the car. Sadie and her mother would put on some music and then figure out the patterns for different songs. It was a lot of fun, and Sadie loved it. “Mom and I would be in the car, and she would help me figure out how to lead. It was really hard, but I really liked it.”
Even the harder time signatures were fun for Sadie. “I ran into songs I couldn’t figure out. I could do the 4/4 time, but the 6/8 and 3/4 took a lot longer to figure out.”
Sadie led her hymns in Young Women and was able to complete her value experience, but conducting music for Sadie didn’t end there. She became a regular in Young Women.
Leading in Sacrament Meeting
Her Young Women leader mentioned to the ward chorister that if he ever needed a substitute in sacrament meeting, Sadie was capable of doing it. Soon Sadie was asked to lead. But that first time was hard. “I was really scared, and I just looked at my family the whole time. I was too afraid to look out at everybody else. The ward was nice about it. They were supportive of me learning.”
Then she was asked to substitute for a month or two. That’s when she gained confidence. She enjoyed going to the bishop and talking about the topics for sacrament meeting so she could select the right hymns.
Call to Choir
When Sadie was 15, the bishop called her to be the ward choir director. “At first,” said Sadie, “I was really excited. Then I realized it was a big calling, and it would be a lot of work. But it’s been great. I’ve had a lot of support from people who sing in the choir and even from people that don’t sing. They will ask how they can help.”
Sadie has sung in choirs since she was seven, but she had never tried to direct one. Now she is clapping out the beats and teaching parts to the choir. “We’re not going to be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but we really try to focus on the words and the spirit of the song. If we miss a few notes, that’s fine, but if we have the Spirit with us, it’s a lot nicer.”
Sadie would never have guessed that just completing a value experience in Personal Progress would possibly lead to her future educational plans. She loves being a choir director and would like to go into music education and perhaps become a school choir director. “I love music. Now that it’s a part of my life, it really seems like a gift that has been given to me.” Sadie was chosen as a drum major in her school band.
Looking back, Sadie is a little surprised by where she has come since learning how to lead music with her mother as they drove in the car—something they never would have done without being motivated to fulfill her Personal Progress.
“I knew I would gain great things from Personal Progress, but I didn’t know it would shape what I would do every day and a possible career in college. It’s amazing.”
Learn How to Lead Music
Starting on page 383 in the hymnbook are beat patterns under “For Beginning Music Directors.” Also, view an interactive conducting course at lds.org/go/916.
Watch a Video
See a video about Sadie at lds.org/go/917.
Photographs by Matt Reier