Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 5 March 2016
My father was a musician. In the 1960s, he designed a music program for the Chicago public school system. He took the soprano recorder — the woodwind flute-like instrument used in Baroque and Renaissance music — and he had it mass-produced in durable plastic. The sound was surprisingly clear and beautiful. He then wrote a teacher’s guide, the Olenick Method, using musical excerpts from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and the like. He was on a crusade to expose children to real music.
Back in those days, most schools would introduce students to the flutophone as their first musical instrument. It was this screeching flute-like thing. We’d all learn how to play ear-splitting renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. It was awful. But Dad had us playing the William Tell Overture on the descant recorder, and it sounded like music. Mention the flutophone in my house and my father would shout out, “A total piece of crap!”
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