Most days I have a song in my heart. Music appreciation began for me in the second grade when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Mrs. Schutt was the music teacher at the elementary school where I attended. She was elderly and her hair looked like a bird’s nest. She wore thick black shoes and she absolutely loved classical music. I guess you could say she had her ducks in a row because nobody got out of line in her class. We had assigned seats and you had to sit up straight and pay attention. She ran the class like a drill sargeant. The phonograph player sat in the corner of the room and she would write the name of the piece we were listening to on the board and after the needle hit the record, we were in another world. She would walk around the class with a short ruler in her hand and if you weren’t enraptured in the music, she would crack you across the knuckles with the ruler.
I learned about things I never knew existed in that class. This teacher was gifted and she taught us the names of all the instruments in an orhcestra. She drew music scores on the board and taught us about all the names of the notes and various music symbols. We had a short course in the different composers and heard wonderful strains of different kinds of classical music. We learned to read the music notes and to sing them. And some of us were chosen to play an instrument. I’ll never forget the day she presented me with the flute she wanted me to learn to play. For $3 a lesson, I could take the instrument home and learn to play the flute. One of my friends, Peter, played the tuba. And there was a clarinet and an oboe (reed instruments) and a trombone. Some other students were learning stringed instruments and my friend Judy played the accordian. Pretty soon we had a little orchestra going for school programs and on special days at school. I loved playing the flute! And Mrs. Schutt played the piano. She loved to play the piano. I never thought she was anything but wonderful because she introduced me to a whole new world of good music. I continued my lessons until junior high school where I laid down the flute and learned how to play the bell lyre and tympani drums for band and orchestra. In high school, I played the bass drum and the snare drum in the marching band. I also learned the cymbals. I think my ear for music is much better than my singing voice, but I do love to sing.
I still like classical music today and can identify the instruments playing. Edith Shaeffer in her book FOREVER MUSIC wrote of her love for music and the Steinway piano she owned and played. I read the book after becoming a Christian and it was very meaningful to me. The following quote is from her book:
“There is a continuity in the need of a piano to be tuned and regulated.
“It is correct to see a parallel between a concert piano needing constant regulating and believers, the children of the Heavenly Father needing constant help to be rid of harsh notes, ugly voices, of flat responses, of too sharp a blast.
“We need individual attention and cleansing of secret faults, as well as God’s strength given to us moment by moment if we are going to do what we have been prepared to do.”
I thank the Lord for Mrs. Schutt. I always loved her because I knew she was doing her best to teach children something important, something she herself believed in and loved. I feel she made a difference in my life. That was over sixty-five years ago. I wonder if I will see her in heaven. . .