13 April 2023

Right Tracks: Introducing the Army's Primary school bangers!

Dan Elson

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Text reads: Right Tracks. Music to make a difference. The logo is a pair of headphones around the Salvation Army shield against a bright purple background.

Dan Elson introduces Right Tracks, a new collection of catchy children’s songs with a Christian message.

When was the last time you were in a primary school assembly? In your childhood, sat cross-legged on a hard, uncomfortable floor? For anyone working in education or involved in children’s ministry, it might have been more recent, but one thing will still feel familiar: the primary school hymns.

Comedian Jason Manford has recently been in the charts with his Assembly Bangers, mixing ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’, ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and more, with a sense of fun and nostalgia to encourage communal singing at his live comedy shows. However, there’s more to children’s Christian songs than reflecting back on our schooldays.

Children today might have more modern musical tastes but conveying the message of God’s love is still as important as ever. That’s why the Music and Creative Arts (MACA) and Children and Youth teams have partnered in creating Right Tracks.

This collection of songs brings the faith and values of The Salvation Army into upbeat, modern pop styles, using easy-to-understand language in an accessible format for children’s outreach. If you’re involved in children’s ministry, the songs and videos will give you an engaging and fun way to introduce big ideas that can make a difference in the lives of young people.

In the first volume of 10 songs there are 5 about our faith, covering topics such as prayer, Jesus’ sacrifice and the Trinity – these songs are ideally suited to Salvation Army young people’s clubs, Sunday schools and other corps activities, as well as school assemblies.

While 37 per cent of primary schools in England are church schools, there are many more schools where sharing your faith is not appropriate. In order to give Salvation Army people an opportunity to share something of who we are in that context, the other five tracks are values-based songs, covering themes such as respect, thankfulness and caring for creation. It is the aim of the Right Tracks team that sharing these Christian values will help children come to understand that Christianity is something they can relate to and connect with.

After we researched common primary school values, I began writing the songs from a bank of grooves that I had put together after analysing a lot of pop songs. A singer search via the MACA social media channels helped us tap into some previously unknown talent and gave a part to people who might not otherwise get to use their particular style in a Salvation Army context – especially our 15-year-old rapper!

All the songs come with lyric videos for children’s leaders to use for communal singing, and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and all other major streaming platforms, so children who enjoy singing the songs in whatever context they first encounter them will have the opportunity to go online and discover more.

By making this resource available for free on these platforms and via salvationist.org.uk we hope that schools around the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory will use them, even when no Salvation Army representative is present. There are assembly plans, resources and activities to sit alongside the songs, which will help those involved in leading young people to explore the themes together in interactive and engaging ways.

We encourage you to take a look and think about how you can use Right Tracks to share your beliefs with others. If you know any primary school teachers, point them towards this free resource that might just help them out in assembly planning. And, of course, we ask you to pray for our children’s workers, for the young people that come into contact with The Salvation Army and for the way that God is going to use Right Tracks to make a difference in their lives. Who knows, maybe in 20-plus years, there’ll be a comedian on stage, in front of thousands, leading communal singing of one of our primary school bangers!

Written by

Photo of Dan Elson.

Dan Elson

Outreach Mission Partner, Music and Creative Arts

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Each song comes with audio tracks, lyric videos, lyric sheets and more!

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Right Tracks

Right Tracks is a new music resource produced for children and leaders to help learn more about God. *Includes a Primary School assembly each song.*

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