There’s something about setting words to music which impresses them into our memories. I remember once my husband and I went to visit our two children who were attending the same college. We decided to go out to lunch and, with the parents in the front and the kids in the back, it was a familiar setting for numerous trips we’d taken over the years. The kids started singing, something we frequently did during family trips, and the selections turned to Sunday school songs. They sang everything from “Rise and Shine” to “Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego” without missing a beat or word.
Whether you are a musically talented Sunday school teacher or not, Piggyback songs are something you can add to your lessons. Piggyback songs are familiar tunes with different lyrics. Emily LaBranche Delikat has written a book called Piggyback Psalms: 100+ Bible Songs to Tunes You Know. Some of the songs include just a sentence or two from a psalm, whereas others contain the entire psalm, such as the song for the 23rd Psalm, which is set to the tune of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Each psalm is written in child-friendly language and also includes chords plus a simple melody to play.
There are suggestions for using these Piggyback Psalms beyond the walls of Sunday school. Because each psalm in the Revised Common Lectionary is included, the songs are ideal for use in worship. It is also suggested that the songs could be used in children’s choirs, in intergenerational and children’s worship, or at home. There is information at the beginning of the book on the benefits of singing the psalms intergenerationally, along with creative ways to use them with all ages. Delikat also includes “A Letter About Lament and Anger” which explains how she dealt with the difficult themes in some of the psalms. The book also includes a Tune Index, as well as a Revised Common Lectionary Index.