". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Disappointing Decision

One of the best elements of Concordia Publishing House's new Growing in Christ Sunday School Curriculum is the catechism memory songs included on the student CD. These songs provide musical settings of Luther's Small Catechism with the goal of assisting memorization of the six chief parts and their meanings. The songs are excellent: child-friendly yet musically fresh and interesting enough to appeal to all ages. We have used them in our home devotions and as someone who never had to memorize the Small Catechism--I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic church and became Lutheran after marrying one--I have found them personally helpful in my own learning. I sincerely hope that every Sunday School teacher in synod is utilizing them in the classroom.

Full disclosure: my husband is to date the sole composer for this project and is slated to see it through to completion some time next year. So that this not appear to be a commercial plug, I want to state for the record that his compensation is on a stipend, not a royalty basis. Upon completion and approval of a song, he is paid for his work and it becomes the sole property of CPH, with no further remuneration based on sales.

When he was first brought on to do this project, it was my husband's understanding that the songs would be an element of both the lower and upper grade Sunday School curriculums. Since we have a daughter in fifth grade, we were therefore surprised that she was not provided her own recording of the catechism songs for home listening. We wondered if perhaps her Sunday School teacher was not distributing the CD's. Upon further investigation, however, we were dismayed to find out that although the catechism songs are included on all the teacher CD's, CPH ultimately decided not to include a CD in the student packet for the upper grades, apparently as a cost-cutting measure. So some of the children who could most benefit--those approaching Confirmation study--are not receiving the tool they need to do so.

Luckily, our family has unusual access to the songs: the composer lives with us! And I also understand that CPH ultimately plans to release the entire song cycle as a separate package. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of the catechism songs but your church is not using the Growing in Christ curriculum or your child is not in the right grade to have received his own CD, you can obtain a CD by ordering either the "Lower Grades Student Stuff" package or the "Teacher Tools" kit (the teacher CD includes not only the songs but also files that allow printing of musical scores for the songs). Here's a link:

Growing in Christ


The Hen (Charity) said...

I have not heard these songs yet but would love to. I think that my son would be able to memorize much more easily if he had music to help him. I just may have to order a copy.

Marie N. said...

The decidion not to include the songs in the student packets for fifth grades + is truly disapointing. It seems they are assuming everyone in the upper grades has had Lutheran instruction in the lower grades. We see families come into and out of our congregation at a steady pace. This would be a nice item for each child of every age. When a job change can take the family to a place where the confessions are passed over it would be especially helpful for the families to have this portable piece of instruction.

Karin said...

Our old church was using them and we sang them all together at the openings. We gave them the words so they could sing along. I am hoping to get them for all my kids to listen to here at home. My then five year old was memorizing them with no problem. Tell your husband thank you for his efforts.