There is so much that a passionate person can do! All the inventions that have been made in the world have a person behind them who was unrelenting in his or her desire to make a difference. It is no different in the world of music. Despite the fact that learning an instrument has its own challenges and discouragements, there are some who have beaten all odds to become inspirations for others.
A Sad Beginning
Norman Malone was not born with any health challenges. In fact, he had a very promising piano future by age 5. It is when he was 10 years old that tragedy struck. Their father attacked him and his two smaller brothers in their home using a hammer on their heads and then committed suicide. This left them partially paralyzed on their right sides, but alive.
Malone, still passionate about his desire to play the piano, kept looking for opportunities to continue learning with his left hand only amidst discouragement.
Or so everyone told him. But Malone refused to accept that verdict, spending years trying to find someone who would teach him to play the instrument with one hand — someone, anyone who knew there was a vast repertoire of piano music written for left hand alone. Via Chicago Tribune
Persistence That Wore Out Resistance
He continued on his journey and his passion caught the attention of the public. His age didn’t limit him and slowly but surely, within a year, things changed, after over half a century of continuous practice and determination.
Malone’s story of tragedy, trauma and aspiration became the subject of several Tribune stories starting last year, and that’s when the pianist began receiving invitations to give concerts. Malone accepted several of them, in effect launching his concert career more than 70 years after he originally had hoped. Via Chicago Tribune
A Grand Opportunity
Eventually, he got the opportunity to perform with an orchestra and since his story had become well known, it was a major event. He had worked on this left-hand piano piece and it was finally time to showcase his efforts.
Yet there he was on Sunday afternoon, seated at the 9-foot Steinway grand in the theater of Kingswood Oxford School, looking sharp in his newly bought tuxedo. The 60-plus musicians of the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra awaited conductor Richard Chiarappa’s downbeat, a packed house eager to hear Malone’s rather belated orchestral debut. Via Chicago Tribune
As every good conductor does, Malone got the chance to practice and polish up on his skills before the event and the butterflies weren’t absent in his stomach. However, he gathered himself and got ready for the opportunity he had been waiting for.
When he was done, the applause said it all. He had accomplished his dreams, against all odds.
When the orchestra re-entered the fray in the climactic last bars, Malone and his orchestral colleagues were in sync as never before, ending the piece with an exclamatory fortissimo that inspired an instant standing ovation from the crowd.
Then Malone stood and turned toward the orchestra, bowing several times before turning around to acknowledge the cheers in the house, shaking his head and looking as if he were about to weep. Via Chicago Tribune
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia
A New Invention
Quite different from Malone’s story but inspiring, all the same, Christopher Taylor is one who has taken his passion to the next level. He took the challenge upon himself to make an invention that will be the talk not only now but even in times to come. The Hyperpiano.
The electronic-run instrument allows two grand pianos to be played simultaneously by one musician — with the potential to take piano repertoire in new directions. Taylor invented the concept, wrote the software, manufactured the keys, designed the 60-odd circuit boards and is now exploring just how far his newly patented invention can go. Via Miami Herald
Created over the past five years, this instrument is bound to make a very new twist to piano playing as he explains:
“That adds a new dimension to the counterpoint, which can be interesting for the people sitting out in the audience,” Taylor said. But that’s not all: Using the console’s 176 keys and five specially designed pedals, Taylor can also command octaves or massive chords from the two pianos sitting many feet away from him. Via Miami Herald
This came from another of his inventions which are described below:
The idea for the Hyperpiano arose from another complex instrument Taylor has championed, UW-Madison’s double-keyboard Steinway known as a Moor Pianoforte.Via Miami Herald
Taylor is a well-learned man who has combined his love for music with his skills in science and technology.
Taylor, who has taught piano performance at UW-Madison since 2000, earned a degree in mathematics from Harvard University. Before becoming a professional pianist, he was a bronze medal winner in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, at which he played the “Goldberg Variations” and other works on a standard single-keyboard Steinway.
The musician is also celebrated for his insatiable intellectual curiosity and mental energy, qualities that have been hailed in his concert performances by effusive music critics. Via Miami Herald
These two stories of Norman Malone and Christopher Taylor show that everyone has an opportunity to make history, whether life has dealt you a “death-blow” or you have that extra wit. You have the opportunity to rise above your circumstances and do something that will make history. What you need is a decided mind and the passion for becoming better than what you expect. Be inspired!
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In 2006, a group of climbers reached at the top of Britain’s highest mountain and found a piano lying there.
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Viral Video Of Amazing Piano Performance At Mall Has Amazing Story Behind It
When a bored 18-year-old sat down at a piano in the center of a mall in Lansing, Michigan and began to play, he didn’t expect a video a passerby posted of his impromptu performance to go viral over this past weekend.
According to the Lansing State Journal, high school student Montell West’s performance of “River Flows in You” caught the attention of Sara Hadley, who posted the video on her Facebook page and got over 257,000 views by mid-afternoon Monday. Via Faith Family America
Minh’s Amazing Piano Wizard Story
WARNING! This will probably bring a tear of JOY to your eyes, it did for us and the story is just beginning. We are so grateful to Martha and her family for sharing Minh’s progress with us.
Martha contacted us about a month ago, (only a month ago!) shortly after buying the Piano Wizard Academy for her 15 year old non-verbal autistic son Minh. Martha has bee researching autism music therapy and lessons.
She was very nervous about how to set up the game, and my wife Eliana (another Ludite!) convinced me I needed to break protocol and text and call her even though it was late (10:00 PM).
Via Piano Wizard Academy
Joseph Parker shows off piano skills on Story
Boxer Joseph Parker isn’t just a champion in the ring, he’s also pretty talented when it comes to the piano.
The unbeaten boxer joined Duncan Garner and Heather du-Plessis Allan in the Story studio as a guest host.
Parker demonstrated his musical ability while on the programme, showing his skills go well beyond the ring.
Watch the video. Via News Hub