By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
One of the earliest music memories I have is of Meserve School in Kansas City, Kansas. I was in third grade and I always looked forward to music class with Miss Abel, our young and energetic music teacher. She was pretty and kind and had a great enthusiasm about her that really made music hour pleasant.
The youthful and petite Miss Abel seemed small even to me as a third grader. She was animated and caused us all to be excited about music. Every day at a certain time, Miss Abel would knock on our classroom door and come in with green cart in hand to begin music class. She designated someone to help pass out the music books and then she would always have something special planned for the whole hour.
After blowing a single note on her pitch pipe, we began to sing songs such as “Old Dan Tucker,” “When the Caissons Go Rolling Along,” “My Wild Irish Rose,” “My Grandfather’s Clock,” and “America the Beautiful.”
Our music period was in the afternoon and I always looked forward to this time. Occasionally Miss Abel would bring in a musical instrument and many times it would be one that I had never heard of. She told us about the different parts of the instrument and then would play some notes just to let us hear what it sounded like. She brought familiar instruments as well such as tambourines, handballs and drums.
One music class that I particularly remember was the time when Miss Abel brought drinking glasses and felt-covered mallets to class. She handed out glasses of the same size to several students. Then she went to each student and filled each student’s glass with water, pouring a different amount in each glass.
Next she gave the instructions. She wanted to play a tune by taking her mallets and tapping each glass on the side. The tune that came out was clearly recognizable.
For instance, if Miss Abel wanted to play “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” she would run around and tap on everyone’s glass to play the tune. She would scurry back and forth from child to child, tapping on glasses for different notes. Amazingly a tune came out.
Sometimes it was slow because she had to get back and forth from each child. But when the tune came together, it was astonishing!
In my third grade mind, I was puzzled why each child had a glass with a different amount of water. Miss Abel explained that the different amounts of water was what made the distinctive notes. Each glass, depending on the amount of water, produced a different sound. When the key was high, much water filled the glass.
What is the spiritual implication? The Scriptures command us to be filled with the Holy Spirit who will be with us at all times. The Holy Spirit will give us strength in times of weakness. The Holy Spirit causes us to manifest the fruits of the spirit.
Then because of the hope within us, our lives will produce music. It is only when circumstances such as disappointments or successes of life are mixed with God’s grace that music radiates from our lives.
Miss Abel and her music class is just a memory in my mind and yet, the experience of the glasses with water and rubber mallets has been an example to me of the Christian life and of being filled with the Spirit.