Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Piano Man

In the lobby of my building sits a very nice piano. I'm no pianist, but I believe it is a baby grand. I am never surprised when someone walks into our office to inquire about the sign that reads something to notion of, "If you would like to play the piano, please contact the President's Office". We get a large range of people interested in playing the keys in the lobby. I love it when people like Dr. Jeff Hopper come and play. Dr. Hopper is a Distinguished Professor of Music and a very talented pianist. He plays with such passion and zeal that you can't help but stop what you are doing and just listen for a few minutes. However, there are others who play the piano. Some of these “pianist” are lacking in the ability arena. They may have a love for playing, but their love is not translated into ability or talent. Regardless, they play. So this very idea has me thinking about skills that each of us possess. At some place and some point in time people told Jeff Hopper he could play. They probably not only told him once, they told him over and over. His professors and friends probably praised him as an accomplished pianist. Hopper took his passion of music and has translated it into a very tangible gift he can give every time he sits at a piano. On the other side of the coin, there are those who play, but aren't very good. Now I know practice makes perfect, but there isn't enough time in the day for these people to practice and anyone be able to make any sense of what they are playing. The issue isn't that these people are poor pianists, the issue is they could be missing out on their real gifts and talents. So often I meet with students who want to chase the dreams that their parents or mentors had. These students need to chase their own dreams. They need to search within and decide what they can do in their life, and do it well. I hope you aren’t hearing me say you need to run away from any challenges you face and brushing it off, as “that wasn’t what I was made to do”. I’m certain Dr. Hopper faced challenges as he mastered the piano, but he knew he was meant to play. This wasn’t someone else’s passion lived out though Hopper, it was his own. Find what you love and chase that dream. Be careful not to follow the dreams of others and leave your own behind.

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