How To Sound Like Mozart When All You Can Play Is “Chopsticks”

A friend told me the true story of a famous piano virtuoso who was giving a concert one night to a packed house.  During intermission, while the audience was stretching and chatting, a little boy climbed onto the stage, found his way up on to the piano bench, and began pounding out Chopsticks on the very expensive instrument.

The mingling audience snapped their heads in his direction, jaws gaping.  The little boy’s parents immediately realized that was their kid up on that stage, and were horrified.  The father made a mad dash to the stage, but just before he got to the steps, the famous pianist stepped out from behind a curtain and stopped him.

“What a minute,” he said.  “Let me handle this.”

The father, wondering if his son was about to receive a very public beating, was too stunned to move.  He watched as the virtuoso climbed onto the stage and sat quietly down next to his Chopsticks-pounding little boy.  To his and everyone else’s surprise, here is what happened next:

The famous pianist placed his hands on either side of the boy’s hands.  He leaned down and whispered in the little boy’s ear, “Don’t stop playing.”  The little boy did what he said – he kept pounding out Chopsticks, concentrating, doing his best, enjoying the moment.  And as he did, the master musician began to improvise, his hands dancing on the keys around the boy’s, building the most beautiful melodies in and around the child’s unpracticed thumping.

When it was all over a few minutes later, the crowd jumped to their feet and applauded lavishly.

If my life was scored for the piano, it might sound a lot like Chopsticks.  Maybe you can relate.  Even if you’re particularly well-organized and very hard-working, the best we’re probably ever going to come up with on our own will be Chopsticks-ish.

But here’s the good news: There is a Master Composer who delights in coming alongside you and I to improvise around our thumping and fumbling.  All in order to produce captivating music for the world to hear, music that changes people and heals people and causes people to worship the Composer.

In other words…

  • God quietly invades our space.
  • He tells us to “keep playing” with what we’ve got.
  • He works within our plunking to produce something beautiful.

It’s Monday morning, the first day of a new work week.  So go ahead and plunk.  Pound those keys and do your best.   And trust that your Chopsticks life can get people on their feet in lavish applause.  All because of the One who beautifully improvises with the choices you’re about to make.


About jesserice

Speaker | Author | Digital Culture Expert | Sit-Down Comedian

Posted on September 19, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I loved this, and really needed to hear it today. Thank you!

    Also, I saw a “Pass It On” commercial made from this story. You can view it here:

    Ah, it encourages me!

  2. Dude, you got some nice writing up here. The comments section makes me fear there’s not an awful lot of people reading it. Just thought i’d let you know that a jesse from holland thoroughly enjoyed this piece today ;-). Peace.

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