The Rest of the Story…

IMPORTANT: Before you read on, make sure you’ve read part one of this post here.

So what did you think of that 90 seconds of music? Would you give it a 10? An 8? A 5? A 3?

Keep your score in mind, and then watch this video, from which the audio excerpt you listened to was taken:

What do you think now? Would you rate what you heard any differently?

I just learned about this pianist — Leon Fleisher — at a retreat I attended over the weekend. He was born in 1928 and began studying piano at age 4. At age 8, he made his public debut and at age 16 performed with the New York Philharmonic. He was once called “the pianistic find of the century.”

Then a mysterious condition took away the use of his right hand. Rather than give up, he learned to play with just his left hand, which is what you saw above. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I can’t play piano that well with two hands!

Leon always dreamed of playing with both hands again and it finally happened. In 2004, he released a new recording appropriately titled, Two Hands.

If you’d like to learn more about Leon and his powerful story, his memoir titled Nine Lives releases next month.

My question to you is — since I said this was like a “choose your own ending” book — what is your takeaway from this? There are a few things that come to my mind, but I’d like to hear your comments first! Please leave a note below.

13 Comments on “The Rest of the Story…

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Jeff Salz
October 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Okay… from a 10 to a 15

The measure of of a life

is not what we do with what are given.

It is what we do after those gifts are taken away.

Jennifer Bair
October 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

This is a wonderful story of shear will, passion, vision and love. The music is secondary to the artistry, the passion and will of the pianist/author. Redemption of a soulful and bold life!

October 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Behind everything, there’s a story you don’t see and can’t imagine. We have passion and fear. Too many people genuflect (often without even knowing it) to their fears. Look what can happen when passion leads.

Dr. Sheila Murray Bethel
October 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I agree with Jeff he is a 15! Leon must live by the tenent that “you never fail, until you quit trying”. Very inspiring story, in a time when peope need inspiraiton.

David Humes
October 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I’m impressed. My take away? There is no excuse for not living our fullest potential, no matter what our real or imagined limitations may be.

Jennifer Bair
October 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

This story ends like this…
Leon Fleisher continues to play to packed houses of inspired patrons-he uses his story to promote his path -his dream – his “right-livihood” and he co-creates with other inspiring people to reach many more-
And they all lived happily ever after. THE END.

I believe in the power of intention to create-manifest your dreams and the dreams of others-of the planet.

Love your idea here.
Contact me if you are interested in partnering/contracting-doing some branding, referrals, sales on behalf of the OPEN ROAD SERIES by Jennifer Bair
[email protected] 415.244.4571

October 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Wow, that’s great stuff everyone — thanks for chiming in. I knew it would be better this way! There are just so many lessons to be learned from Leon’s story — and probably a different one for each of us. I look forward to seeing how others respond.

October 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Some passions know no disability.

October 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I would love to know what mindset he was living in when having to learn all over again with one hand. What did he tell himself over and over each time he got frustrated and wanted to quit? Must have been something pretty amazing. Incredible! Thanks for sharing Shawn!

October 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

As a musician, I may have a slightly different take…

Granted, the talent and determination are unquestioned. I go back to the original question of what makes beautiful music. Is it the melody, instrumentation, feel, tempo, etc., and how does that impact each of us individually? The same can be asked of a speech or presenation. What is a good speech to one might miss the mark to another. I think it’s great that this is an inspiring story, but I’m not sure that’s what the musician wants us to focus on… he’s had enough struggles with his condition, and probably doesn’t want us to judge his performance completely on that.

My take away is judge what is beautiful by the product, not by the delivery. I know I am guilty of this as a speaker… I often judge the small details of another speaker, rather than focus on what they really want me to come away with. I can only hope my audiences are better at that than I am.

Thank you, Shawn, the great idea and opportunity to share!

October 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Love hearing these insights. Thanks again for engaging… this has been a lot of fun!

One of the first things I thought of when I heard Leon’s story is Brian Tracy’s book, No Excuses, which I’m currently reading… talk about a “no excuses” mentality!

Bob Stanley
September 18, 2011 at 2:12 am

I gave it a 6/10 before listening but that instantly changed to 10/10 within the first few minutes. Fantastic effort sir.

-Bob from BMW for Sale

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