Can You Lend Me a Hand?

About a Creative Piano Duet

By Shlomo Maital  


This is a very small story about helping people, caring people, a piano and a two-handed duet.

In our synagogue, X. (name withheld) is a superb concert pianist, with a neurological illness that makes playing piano difficult, and confines him to a wheelchair.   S. is a competent skilled piano player, who meets with X. regularly to discuss music and to play piano.  X has problems with his left hand. It doesn’t work very well, and makes playing Chopin tough for him.

   So – give up playing?

   No.   X. plays the right hand of the lovely Chopin prelude and S. plays the left hand. She tells me this is what she used to do regularly, in teaching her students to play difficult pieces.  S. has lent a hand to X. Literally.   Wish we would all do the same for our friends and neighbors, and strangers.


   Someone very close to me also has a neurological disease (Parkinson’s). She’s a brilliant and talented artist, but can no longer hold paint brushes in her hands.

   Give up painting?

     People with courage do not give up. They lend themselves a hand (with, as the Beatles say, a little help from their friends and family).

     She paints with sponges. And the results are astonishing. (See above).

       The lesson here is clear. Work with what you have. If you have one good hand, play with that. If you have no real grip, find a substitute for paint brushes.   Keep doing what you love, as long as you can.  Let others lend you a hand. Lend yourself a hand.

       And just keep truckin’.