Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part.

Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.



a music lesson

Have you ever been in a position where you were expected and required to participate in music lessons even though you had absolutely no interest?

The situation was this: my father was a professional music teacher specializing in teaching Hawaiian and Spanish guitar, as well as the accordion. My mother was an accomplished piano player and, in fact, the whole family was very musical. I was the only one who had not been involved, yet, in learning to play a musical instrument.

And, as a lot of families do, I was enrolled in piano lessons even though I had absolutely no interest in learning how to play it. So, it started. Lesson after lesson I endured but rebelling at the time it took to practice – I’d rather have been outside playing with my friends. Finally, I just quit practicing and my piano teacher told my parents that I was hopeless. Great – no more piano lessons.

Now, I was free from practicing piano, but my parents still desired that I learn a musical instrument. The long and short of it was this: I wasn’t interested at this time, nor was I interested in learning an instrument that they picked for me. I guess I was a bit headstrong but, at the same time, I knew what I wasn’t interested in.

The musical story doesn’t end here, it goes on to where I decided what I wanted to learn, to play and that ended up being the drums. I loved playing the drums and went on to play in several bands for many years after that.

The point here is this, and a point that speaks to a great many things about life: if you are not ready to do something no matter how much someone else wants you to do it, you won’t do it. Or, at the very least, you will certainly not put your heart and soul into it and will surely fail.

This aptitude to do what you desire when you desire is also prominent in beginning a career, choosing to study, deciding where you want to live, or how you relate with those around you. We all make choices sooner or later but those choices cannot be forced on you with any success.

The other truth about deciding and making your own choices is that you will make them on whatever basis and for whatever reasons when you are good and ready. Some people take longer than others to make these choices. I know this can be frustrating to parents, friends, wives and husbands but that is the way of life. Now, that doesn’t mean you just have to sit on your hands while you hope someone makes a good choice. It means, instead, that you offer to talk, to discuss, to banter ideas, or thoughts, or issues. After all, whether you know it or not, what you say does have an impact but only if you are not trying to cram your ideas down someone’s throat.


have a lyrical day