I wish I could have captured the look on a child’s face, when he opened a little box set with a nice pen and a tuning fork in it.
The student was moving away, as third culture kids tend to do, and this particular child had put substantially extra effort into his learning. I wanted to recognize this because it seemed the best moment in time to do so. It was going to be either then or never.
He and the other children in the class, and a few moms, looked on.
Then out of the box came the tuning fork as he expectantly unwrapped the box. I think I got more enjoyment out of the expressions on each person’s face than any other lesson I could have taught.
How would he use it? Actually he knew, because I had shown him in his lesson how to use one.
Next came the awe from the other children. Each then took a turn with it and discovering how it can resonate on other surfaces besides on their violins.
I think they most loved resonating it either on the wood floor or their skulls. (Give it a try – it’s silent outwardly but inwardly it is amazing!)
Of course, I know just about everyone has an app now to tune with, or a tuning device which runs on a battery, which are perfectly okay to use. But there is something particularly pure about the tone produced by a tuning fork which to my ears is not replicated by anything else. Well, okay, maybe a glockenspiel or vibraphone or similar thing does come kind of close, but how many of us put glockenspiels to use on a regular basis?
Following our teaching intuition is a great skill to develop after one has paid one’s dues in the process of obtaining a quality education. And using a real tuning fork from time to time is not only fun but inexpensive, useful and might even provide you with glorious expressions of delight.
Do you have a tuning fork? Have you ever showed one to your students? Let’s hear from you in the comments – don’t be shy!
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