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Sound Bytes: Full Music Edition


Edited by Andrew Pratt
94 Songs for the 21st Century for children to share with everyone
Edited by Andrew Pratt.

Ref: B856 ISBN: 9780852498569 ISMN: 9790220219795 Categories: , , By:

Sound Bytes is a major new initiative for adventurous worship in the third millennium, intended for use by children aged eight and above in school, church and junior church. Many songs are also appropriate for use within Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum and multi-faith situations.

Sound Bytes is ecumenical in spirit like Big Blue Planet which inspired the new collection. It draws extensively on the work of leading authors and composers of worship material for young people, with the new alongside more familiar hymns and songs.

Images of technology including the Internet, laser beams, space travel and mobile phones root the collection in young people’s experience of God in today’s world. The contents of Sound Bytes focus on realistic contemporary situations and, while exploring a range of joyful emotions, also give opportunities for children to express more reflective and sensitive feelings arising from occasions of sorrow, pain and trauma.

A unique linking narrative binds together the contents within traditional and contemporary themes of season and church year, the Old and New Testaments, prayer, responsibility to God and to others, concern for the world community and care and stewardship of the planet.

The narrative assists teachers and worship leaders to present individual songs with the minimum of preparation, and may also be used as an extensive reference and as the backbone of a curriculum.

Sound Bytes features an exciting spectrum of musical styles ranging from rap, blues and calypso to traditional folk song, dance and hymns. Copious notes assist presentation, acting out and performance with accompaniments involving piano, percussion, chime bars, guitars, recorders, sequencers and midi keyboards.

A CD containing 20 songs from the book is available here….

A really useful collection

Congratulations to Stainer & Bell for a really useful collection of songs for children. Useful is really the word here. The songs cover the seasons of the Christian Year, plenty of Harvest and Zacchaeus as you would expect but also Advent, Christingle, Jesus’ Baptism, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost and then go on to a wide variety of themes in the Christian life – prayer, the multi-faith and multi-cultural world, hope, peace, friends and death. Old and New Testament stories are retold in song, from Ruth to the Sower and the index of themes also includes space, sport, laser, water and blessing.

As well as offering up a song for almost any theme you may be planning, the book bursts with creativity; music and words are enormously varied in their style, but the quality is consistently high and as you read the book you’ll find plenty that you will want to take as starting points – the rock ‘n’ roll version of the parable of the sower, the haunting music and words of the story of Ruth, the Bethlehem story with questions, the sound bytes rap; God as father or mother; AIDS and slaves and plenty more. There are accompaniment and action suggestions too. But is it good music and will the children like the songs? Yes and yes are the answers.

This song book deserves to appear on the shelf of everyone who plans worship with children. There is music here to give inspiration and fun to singers and musicians and there are words to bring heartfelt needs and aspirations to expression.

Andrew Pratt has aimed for ‘exciting, appropriate and contemporary’ songs to convey religious concepts. He has also hit his target and the result is good for learning and good for enjoyment.

Steve Pearce
Together with Children

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