Cultivating a Musical Home

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Editor’s note: Today, I am grateful to Jared Haselbarth for sharing this wonderful article on how we can engage our children in a lifelong love of music. LMH

One thing that makes every Catholic home full of life and culture is music. For most of us, this means popping in a CD or using our MP3 player and listening to our favorite tunes. But, as families, one thing that we do not do well all together is…SING! Families don’t sing together. Why is that? Music is everywhere in our culture – it’s on TV, it’s on the radio, it’s at church, it’s at sporting events and of course at concerts. But the one place where music would truly do the most good for us as Catholics is in our home. Why on earth don’t we sing together as families? For one, we are embarrassed and the kids don’t want to do it. I can just imagine myself in high school many years ago and having my mother ask us to sing a song together. I would have said, “Are you joking?”

Yet, if your kids are young, as mine are, I am starting early with making music a regular part of our daily routine. I am hoping to create an environment where singing and music is the norm. In addition to that, I hope to fill my children’s heads with holy music. Remember how a familiar song can transport you back in time to some momentous occasion or some emotional time in your life? In many ways, the songs of our childhood are like our theme music as we act out our life. The music sticks with you. That is why, unfortunately, I can still tell you all of the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, Mama Said Knock You Out, or, better, just about any U2 song ever (Anybody else have 80s cultural baggage?). So, instead of all the silly music that is out there, I wanted my kids to have memories of praying and singing the Liturgy of the Hours as a family, or watching one of my Sacred Art and Music videos. These memories will stick with them – even if they take the “long road” to adulthood by one day straying from the Christian path. Nothing will be able to remove the pleasant memory of sitting around and singing a Catholic hymn with Mom, Dad, and all one’s siblings. Who knows, maybe that will be the spark that brings a prodigal son home one day.

So, in order to help my own family achieve this end, I created several music resources that may also be beneficial for other Catholic families.

First, I created the Catholic Children’s Prayers in Song. This group of songs takes traditional Catholic prayers and sets them to music that I wrote and recorded. My oldest son already has many of his prayers memorized – simply by listening to these songs when there is down-time around the house (read: Mom needs a break and she pops in the CD). I have included a sample of one of these songs below, set to Sacred Art in a YouTube video. The prayer was written by St. Ignatius of Loyola and is called “Take, O Lord.”

Other prayers that I have set to original music are:

1. Sign of the Cross
2. Sign of the Cross (version 2)
3. Our Father
4. The Hail Mary
5. Glory Be
6. Glory Be (version 2)
7. Hail Holy Queen – guitar mix
8. Hail Holy Queen – fun mix
9. Grace Before Meals
10. Prayer Before Mass
11. Act of Contrition
12. Act of Faith
13. Act of Hope
14. Act of Love
15. Prayer of Abandonment
16. Prayer of Generosity
17. Take, O Lord
18. Angel of God My Guardian Dear
19. Confiteor
20. Prayer Before Study
21. St. Michael the Archangel

In addition, for those of you who are currently praying or who always hoped to get into praying the Liturgy of the Hours, I have recorded all of the hymns printed in the Divine Office text. Most families see the words of the hymns printed on the page, but have no idea how the tune goes! So, with this resource, your family can download mp3s of all of the hymns – these include church organ and pleasant vocals by Yours Truly, and you simply SING ALONG. You will learn the hymns in no time and your attempts to pick up and pray the Liturgy of the Hours will be that much more fruitful.

Included below is the link to the online bookstore where you can purchase my music resources. Thanks for supporting my work and allowing me to continue to create more helpful projects like these.

Lastly, as you start to sing along with my music and feel shy about your singing voice, don’t forget the famous words of St. Jerome who once wrote: “Sing to God not with the voice, but with the heart.” In other words, don’t just let the words come from your mouth, but let them come from your heart. Let this holy music form and lift up the souls in your family. God bless.

1. Catholic Children’s Prayers in Song
2. Hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours

Mr. Jared Haselbarth has served as the Assistant Academic Dean of the Graduate School of Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for four years, where he helps direct and manage four academic programs of study. He holds an MA in Theology from St. Charles and a BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. In addition, Jared spent one year in post-graduate study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome (Angelicum) where he studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He has taught at DeSales University and St. Charles Seminary and has also taught at the high school level. Since 2009, he has contributed to the development of the Classical Liberal Arts Academy (CLAA) out of Monroe, NC, writing coursework on Art and Music History and creates audio/visual resources for families. Jared and his wife Laura are the parents of three young boys.

Copyright 2012 Jared Haselbarth

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