“Every note on a grand piano is special and unique.” Mr. Lueck hit one key, from lowest to highest, as he spoke. “White and black, each note represents a unique frequency.”
Mr. Lueck enjoyed teaching Beginner Band Class. He always taught it the same way every year because he knew a handful of the kids would take what he was saying to heart, and it would affect them positively for the rest of their lives.
The technology changed over the years, and he ran with it because it made his job so much easier. In the past, he used vinyl records and cassette tape recordings to teach the notes to the kids. “The present day technology is such a blessing.” He always told his colleagues during lunch breaks.
“Does everyone have their tablets? It doesn’t matter what type of tablet it is, as long as you can connect to the wireless network here… All right… it looks like everyone is good to go. I want you all to go into the folder labelled ‘Lueck’. Everyone there? Okay, then go into the folder with your name on it. In each folder, you will see a sound file. Open the file.”
Within seconds, there was a cacophony of notes. Each student had a sound file with unique note assigned to them, and the randomness of it all annoyingly filled the room.
“Okay now, close those files. Here is your assignment for today: take your tablets into the Practice Rooms, along with your instrument. I want you to tune your instrument and keep practicing the note I assigned to you until you have it mastered. I will check on you from time to time. This is not an easy task; getting the correct frequency takes time. Practice, practice, practice!”
Mr. Lueck had the ability to watch and listen to the students through the cameras built into their tablets. He tried that once but was not satisfied. “It’s just too cold and indifferent, and something doesn’t seem right about it.” So, he made his way from practice room to practice room, encouraging the children, one at a time.
“See, you’re getting it now—good job!”
When he was satisfied he was hearing good notes, he would invite them all back into the big band classroom.
“All right. Thank you for practicing your note. This is what we’re going to try today. Remember how I played the grand piano from the lowest note to the highest? We’re going to do something similar. We don’t have 88 kids in this class, but we’ll do the middle part of the scale. Now, up on the screen and also on your tablets you will see a piano keyboard. Each note has one of your names on it. What I want you to try now is we will each play our note for about 2 seconds and go up the music scale. Starting with the lowest note: Christian, you will start. Then Henry. Then Maddie. Then Nolan, and so on. Are you ready? Good! Then start.”
Excited to finally be playing together, the children invariably played the scale perfectly.
With a satisfied grin, Mr. Lueck would always explain his musical philosophy. “Mastering one note is just the beginning. There are a so many other notes and chords and combinations of all of the above—the basic building blocks of music. But, if you really want to learn your instrument: take time to practice, practice and practice again. I know that every one of you has God-given talent, or else you wouldn’t even be here. But, to take music to the top of the mountain, you have to become your instrument. If you are a trumpet player, then trumpet the Good News wherever you go. If you are a drummer, then keep the beat—keep your faith in Christ. Sing God’s praises through your life and through your instrument. This is your noteworthy calling.”
Mr. Lueck always repeated his music philosophy throughout the school year, and as he always prayed, predicted and expected, a handful of kids would “get it.” Those kids went on to have productive, successful lives in the kingdom of God.
Dozens of those children are now grown up and here today at this Memorial Service for our good teacher, Gerald Lueck. While we cry and weep for him—our friend, our father, our grandfather our brother, our cousin, our uncle—we know God has Mr. Lueck in a better place.