Play Me a Little Tune, Please
Music can excite, soothe, energize, thrill, compel, and overwhelm the hearer. The sounds created by voices, instruments, rhythm sections, and those electronically generated tones have captivated this era. Now that we have so many wonderful advancements in electronic devices that can cause the listening experience to be so clear and enjoyable, the music industry is flourishing.
Even with all of the opportunities to hear professionals, those that can play at least at a proficiency level love to do so. Many hours are spent alone in playing familiar tunes and learning new melodies for one’s enjoyment. Not every instrument is expensive. In many places, the person may learn to play a “saw”, or water glasses filled with varying levels of water to make different tones for tunes, and I have even seen people play a comb! Not my favorite musical experience, but I heard it with my own ears.
For students in band, they must practice becoming very skilled at playing or they may lose their place in a marching band, orchestra, or ensemble to someone who plays better. Not all that play for personal pleasure are preparing to be heard by a crowd. It is just a pastime to be enjoyed.
When there is down time for a person who is alone in a new place and that person finds that they have no real friends or acquaintances, learning to play music can be rewarding. Playing a new instrument can be a great way to fill one’s time. It gives the person something to do when they are home alone, and it is a new skill they can tell others they mastered when they return to see those they love back home.
A young American engineer was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, she began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to comely Irish lasses.
The young engineer wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I’m tempted. But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you.”
In the next mail, the engineer received a package. It contained a note from his girl and a harmonica. “I’m sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.”
The engineer replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you.”
At the end of his two-year stint, the engineer was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, she held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there a minute, Billy Bob. Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!” (Copied).