Today I saw a YouTube video of Gui Gui playing Souvenirs d'Enfance, and was instantly reminded of the FaceBook Share I posted in my Timeline 3 years ago, in April 2012, of the same video. And I want to share this to an even wider audience now, because an inspirational story might be a good vitamin for the heart of those who are learning to play, who wish to learn, or who have given up playing.
Zheng Gui Gui (郑桂桂) is a chinese girl who came from Henan (河南), China. But what makes her different from the rest of the children is the fact that she was born with no fingers on her right hand. I believe it must have baffled a lot of people - how can an instrument that is played with fingers, be played without fingers? Against all odds, Gui Gui started learning at the age of 18, and in 2 years' time, she was ready to participate in China's Got Talent Show (中国达人秀) in January 2012, with the piece - Souvenirs d'Enfance.
Written by Paul de Senneville, Souvenirs d'Enfance is performed by Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès), a French pianist, who is noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as being "the most successful pianist in the world".
Gui Gui's love for the piano truly has been the most motivational force. Due to her handicap, she has to practice even harder and invest more time than her peers. But this never brings her down, and her interest for the instrument shows the world that if you have a dream, you can make it come true if you are passionate about it and willing to give your best. That performance on the stage, her television debut, and the applause; was definitely a priceless moment in her life, period.
I taught a student with Down Syndrome for a few years before. During most of the lessons, I spent a lot of time talking to her because she needed a lot of encouragement, and many times unsure of herself. Yes, I remembered the tears swelling in my eyes when I was present at her church, on the day she went up onto the stage to perform, in front of her church members. Yes, I remembered the loud applause too.
There is Zhang Pei Shan who suffers from MPS III, a rare disease that has robbed her of the ability to walk or breathe on her own, and severely stunts her growth. Her musical abilities grabbed the attention of Beautiful Mind Charity (BMC) in an audition, earning her a sponsorship for her music lessons.
Rebecca Koh Pin Pin was born blind, and began learning the piano at age seven. Her passion and determination has allowed her to achieve great heights in her musical endeavours, and is working towards getting her fellowship. Having performed for charity events such as the 'True Hearts' show, she hopes to continue sharing her music with the world to inspire them.
From Japan, Nobuyuki Tsujii was born blind but with a talent for music. At the age of two, he began to play "Do Re Mi" on a toy piano after his mother had been humming the tune. He began his formal study of piano at the age of four. In 1995, at the age of seven, Tsujii won the first prize at the All Japan Music of Blind Students by the Tokyo Helen Keller Association. In 1998, at age ten, he debuted with the Century Orchestra, Osaka. He gave his first piano recital in the small hall of Tokyo's Suntory Hall at age 12. Subsequently, he made his overseas debut with performances in the United States, France, and Russia. In October 2005, he reached the semifinal and received the Critics’ Award at the 15th International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw, Poland. Watch Tsujii performed the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Juanjo Mena.
There is new hope everyday. The Disabled People's Association Singapore posted on its FaceBook page about a new virtual-reality device using eye-tracking technology which helps children with physical disabilities play the piano. The original article at The Guardian reports how children can play using eye movements while wearing the headset.
And Mother Theresa said, "To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."