A mother, wishing to encourage her young son’s progress at the piano bought tickets for a performance by Ignace Paderewski, the famous Polish concert pianist. When the night arrived they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on stage.

Soon the mother found a friend to talk to and the boy slipped away. When eight o’clock arrived, the spotlights came on, the audience quieted, and only then did they notice the boy up on the piano stool, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

His mother gasped, but before she could retrieve her son, the master appeared on stage and quickly moved to the piano.

“Don’t quit – keep playing” he whispered to the boy. Leaning over, Paderweski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obligato. Together the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerised.

In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and again, “Don’t quit – keep playing”. And as we do he augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created.

Source: Leadership Magazine, Spring 1983

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