Posts Tagged ‘character’

One-Handed Piano Player Makes History

August 29, 2012



nicholas-mccarthy

Nicholas McCarthy


If you were born without a right hand, chances are that your wish list would not include becoming a concert pianist. Nicholas McCarthy had other ideas. Here is Nicholas’ story, as told by Donna Bowater for The Telegraph.




ONE-HANDED PIANIST NICHOLAS McCARTHY GRADUATES FROM ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC

Nicholas McCarthy, 23, was told as a teenager that he was wasting everyone’s time by trying to learn the instrument with only one hand.

But he has now become the first one-handed pianist to complete his studies at the Royal College in its 130-year history.

The musician has also joined Britain’s first disabled orchestra, the Paraorchestra, which played to Paralympic athletes to welcome them to London.

Mr McCarthy, from Tadworth in Surrey, achieved his ambition by playing music written specifically for the left hand, including works by the Austrian composer Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in the First World War.

Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartok are among the composers who have written pieces for just the left hand.

Mr McCarthy said being told by a head teacher that he would always be held back was “soul crushing” but made him more determined to succeed.

He was left to teach himself to play on an electric keyboard from Argos when he was a child, and only started piano lessons aged 14.

“There are people in my position having counselling, and I just think: ‘Please get over it and make something of yourself.’ You can turn it into an advantage,” he said.

He said of his Royal College achievement “I don’t go around thinking of these milestones, but when my teacher rang me up and said ‘you’ve made history’, that felt good.

As a teenager seeking his first place at a school for young pianists, he was refused an audition and told he would never succeed.

“It was soul crushing because that’s all I wanted to do – I could feel it would be an uphill struggle, but it made me more determined, I’m quite a stubborn character” he said.

He taught himself to play an electric keyboard from Argos as a young boy, but did not start piano lessons until he was 14.

He had planned to become a chef but changed his career path the moment a friend played him a piano sonata by Beethoven, which “dumbfounded” him.

He said “I just fell in love with it and decided that was what I wanted to do. I started playing around with the piano and found it came very naturally.”

At the age of 17 he secured a place at the junior department of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the annual piano prize.

He then went on to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, and has just graduated.

The college’s head of keyboard, Prof Vanessa Latarche, said her pupil had been “incredibly enterprising” in overcoming some big challenges such as developing the stamina to present a 50-minute recital with one arm.

“He has been a great inspiration to many of his fellow students in showing what it is possible to achieve with a disability” she said.

Nicholas said “When I first joined the orchestra, a couple of the musicians who are partially sighted and blind didn’t believe I was playing with one hand, that was a big compliment to me.

“The music is all written for the left hand alone, I’m not changing anything, I’m playing the music as it was written. It’s written very cleverly, but you’ve got to be very quick and good with the pedalling to sustain the bass notes while playing the top notes.”

Nicholas said he thought a lot of people came to see him perform “for curiosity and think ‘How is this possible?'”

Next week (August 2012) he will perform in Malta at the offices of the country’s prime minister and in September he will headline his first evening concert at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.





Click here to view all my posts featuring people who have triumphed over physical challenges.






ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to GodsEyesOrder.com OR order from Amazon at GodsEyesAmazon.com OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.




Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER





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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?


Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.




Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.



SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

It Is Necessary to Suffer Some Defeats

August 18, 2011



Our greatest lessons are often embedded in our greatest pain. We cry to the heavens, unaware that we are growing stronger and wiser even as we plead for mercy.


We rarely gain a high or larger view except as it is forced upon us through struggles which we would have avoided if we could.
Charles Horton Cooley

You would not be the person you are today if you had never been brought to your knees by the vicissitudes of life.

If life teaches us anything, it may be that it’s necessary to suffer some defeats. Look at (more…)

Summon the Hero Within

August 13, 2011





Celebrate the difficult moments, for they are where the missing pieces of your greatness can be found.

Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.
Charles (Tremendous) Jones






Greeting every challenge as a character-building exercise (more…)

The Only Thing Whose Value Increases With Its Price

September 27, 2010



True integrity is as tough as steel and as fragile as a snowflake. Tough because it is immalleable and unyielding, and fragile because one careless act can melt it away.


The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.
Japanese proverb

Preserving your integrity may come at a steep cost, but steeper (more…)

The Only Real Mistake

September 17, 2010



Embrace absolute integrity and you will find that guilt and regret are inevitably replaced by peace and serenity as naturally as winter gives way to spring.





Just as surely as distress must follow self-deceit, healing must follow self-honesty.
Vernon Howard

On those occasions when you do fall short of your expectations, you (more…)

As You Are, You Are

August 24, 2010



When you commit to a life of integrity, you are concerned with your integrity and yours alone. You are your own harshest critic as well as your most ardent supporter.

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.
Hindu wisdom









Your sense of self is not affected one way or the other by what others may think or say about you.

Do not let your peace depend on the hearts of men; whatever they say about you, good or bad, you are not because of it another man, for as you are, you are.
Thomas à Kempis

Should circumstances besmirch your (more…)

Good Feels Good

August 8, 2010

Confidence in your rectitude is only wishful thinking until you have tempered your integrity in the fires of experience. Only when you are able to slay the dragons of your cravings and self-importance with the sword of divinely harmonious thoughts and actions can you reach the summit of true integrity.

Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.
Edith Wharton

The values and principles you were taught are only (more…)