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Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace

October 9, 2022

Get In Tune

One of the first things Mr. Harris taught the trumpet section in the Beginner Band at Abraham Lincoln School here in Belleville was how to tune up. We were fourth grade boys.

“Listen. You have to learn to listen.” And he’d help us to adjust our trumpets’ tuning slides in or out, depending on if we were sharp or flat. We all wondered why others weren’t in tune with us. That’s about it.

Get In Tune with Whom?

Mrs. Mayer taught us in both Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra at Belleville West High School to listen to the First Chair Violin and the Oboe.

“Listen. You have to listen first.” She’d signal us trumpet players with thumbs up or thumbs down, telling us which way to adjust our horns’ slides, depending on if we were sharp or flat.  

Your Horn was In Tune

In our college Brass Choir we would tune to the First Chair Trumpet. (As pretty much the only four year non-music major, I enjoyed being what I thought of as The World’s Foremost Supporting Trumpet Player.) In rehearsals sometimes lips got tired and sagged ever so slightly. Or we got lax with our breath control. Or sloppy with our fingering. When that happened, Profs. Howard or Curnow would suddenly stop the piece of music and stare at the conductor’s score on their stands. 

“Listen. We tuned up the horns when we started today. It’s not the horn. Listen.” And we’d start again at measure 184 or wherever. Usually that only happened once every week or two, and that was enough to get our attention. 

With Whom is Your Heart in Tune?

I was reminded of all of this in a recent Bible Study. We sang number 400 in our official United Methodist Hymnal. 

The opening line caught my attention: 

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing thy grace.

Pop Quiz: 

  1. With whom are you in tune?
  2. What is the song of your heart? 

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

And hope to see you back here tomorrow.

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