Ginny Burger returned to the Louis Braille School on Tuesday, April 7th.
Last January, Ginny brought bulbs, pots and potting soil to our classroom and spent an afternoon teaching our students the proper way to put everything together (see our Feb. 16th, 2009 blog story, Watching Things Grow).
This time she carried a large, oddly-shaped, fabric bag into school and headed for the library. The zipper on her bag is 6-feet long and down it came.
Inside the parted fabric lay a large harp.
Ginny removed the harp from the carrying bag, stood it straight up, and talked about the levers. They sit on the wood part of the harp above the strings, looking like toggle switches.
When she flipped a lever and plucked its corresponding string, the pitch would rise.
“On this harp, every string has a lever,” she explained. “So every string can be changed from a regular note to a sharp.”
After the students had a chance to make sounds with the strings and watch Ginny tune the harp, everyone sang a medley of classic children’s and popular songs that included The Wheels on the Bus, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.
Every song sounded good on the harp, but Edelweiss may have sounded best of all.
Teacher Dianne called the harp music “celestial.”
“The harp has a very nice effect on the students,” she said. “It’s stimulating and calming at the same time.”
Ginny said the harp’s vibration “does something inside your body. You can feel the effect from all stringed instruments, but mostly from the harp.”
After the students thanked Ginny for playing and allowing them to touch the harp, Ginny said she’ll learn the songs they requested for next time.
“The kids like the music and it’s fun for them to get to know the harp and touch the strings,” she said after the concert. “And they’re really enthusiastic singers!”