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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)

TITLE: A Challenging Melody
By Brad Paulson


“Good morning children, my name is Mr. Tuttle and I will be your Sunday School teacher today.”

“Mrs. Swenson didn’t tell us we were going to have a substitute,” said Melody Markham.

“It is my understanding that there was some sort of family emergency and that she had to leave suddenly, but I am happy to teach your class while she is absent. As some of you may know, if you have older brothers and sisters, I am the music teacher at Ferris High School. I thought today we could spend some time talking about music and . . .”

“I have an older sister and I’ve never heard of you,” said Melody.

“Perhaps your sister does not take music class,” said Mr. Tuttle trying to remain patient. He had seen Melody before during the children’s time in the church services. Melody always had a comment to make and rarely, if ever, left an opinion unexpressed. For a third grader, she was rather articulate and the congregation found here quite amusing. Most of the folks enjoyed watching Melody steer the children’s time into a completely different direction than it was supposed to go, and everyone would have a good chuckle as the children were dismissed to their Sunday School classes. Mr. Tuttle had not had any experience with Melody within the confines of the Sunday School room, but he was determined to keep his lesson on track. “Today I thought it would be fun to talk about music and how music can help us worship . . .”

“My sister plays the flute. If you were the music teacher at Ferris, I’m sure I would have heard of you.”

“You have no reason to doubt my credentials, but if you insist on questioning my current employment status, I will be happy to pursue it with you and your parents after class. So with that out of the way, Who can give me some examples of how we can use music at church . . . Yes, I see your hand Melody, but perhaps some of the other children would like a chance to speak . . . no one . . . anyone? All right Melody.”

“I tried to play the piano the other day but it just sounded like a bunch of noise, why is that? I’ve seen people play lots of times and I know how to push the keys, but it doesn’t sound like music when I do it.” Melody folded her arms, rather pleased with her question and waited for a response.

“Well, that has nothing to do with the question I asked, and I would greatly prefer to stick to the lesson I have planned. So . . .” Mr. Tuttle winced in frustration as Melody interrupted again.

“I knew you weren’t a music teacher.”

“Okay Melody let me explain something. The reason you make noise, instead of music, when you push the keys on the piano is because you don’t know how to play it. There is an order to music. Certain notes go with certain chords and . . .”

“Why?” asked Melody.

“Music theory is very complicated. It would take more time than we have here to explain it. There are many scales that, when arranged properly, can . . .”


“Well you see, sound waves all have different frequencies resulting in different pitches. The higher tones come from higher frequencies of vibration and the lower . . .” He stared off into the distance as Melody interrupted again.


Frustration was beginning to show as the volume and pitch of Mr. Tuttle’s voice began to rise. “Okay, look Melody, music sounds good because God likes it, and he made it good. If you want to learn to play music, you need to take lessons and practice, practice, practice.” Beads of sweat were forming on his brow as he continued, “It may take years, but if a student works hard enough he or she can master any instrument. However, if you continually interrupt your teacher, you will never learn anything, so I suggest that you keep your mouth closed for the rest of this class or you can spend the rest of our time sitting outside in the hall!” Mr. Tuttle took a breath, a bit surprised at his own outburst.

“Oh, I see,” said Melody. “Maybe you really are a teacher.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 09/02/06
Every culture has its own language. Mr. Tuttle just learned Melody's. Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/03/06
Wow! What an exasperating child! Mr. Tuttle was far more patient than I would have been! Cute story...and great last line.
Joanne Malley09/05/06
How funny! Great characterization and fun/distinct personalities. I like it! :) Jo