Don't Quit; Keep Playing I received an email that told a story that deeply touched me. The story goes that as the great Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) walked onto stage and was about to begin a concert, he found his seat at the grand piano already taken by a young boy who had slipped away from his mother and found his way onto the stage. Different versions of the story have the boy either playing “Chopsticks” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, but the boy was rattling off some simple melody. The crowd’s reaction was shock and anger, but Paderewski went over to the piano and whispered to the boy not to quit, but to keep playing – and then he placed his arms on either side of the boy, adding masterful harmony to his melody. The crowd was transformed by this turn of events and considered it the highlight of the evening.
As I have attempted to tell this story in song, I changed the young boy to a young girl to help eliminate confusion as I use pronouns to refer to each character (he/she). The imagery of this experience (true or not) is used to draw an analogy to our lives. This analogy was not my creation, but it was impressive enough to me that I felt the need to make it into a song. I have often found myself with responsibilities or assignments that overwhelm me or seem beyond my talents and capabilities, and I’ve wondered how “the crowd” will react to what I have to offer – I think we have all been there. It is at these times that I am so grateful that the Master is willing to stretch His arms around me and fill in the holes where I am lacking. I look back in gratitude as I recognize those points in my life, and I look forward with hope as I hear the whisperings of “Don’t Quit; Keep Playing.”
The grand piano sits majestic, as the young girl sits down and plays. The audience hears a simple melody, as the master pianist steps onto the stage.
The young girl had slipped by unnoticed, curiosity had got her best. But now the curtain had been raised – how would the master treat his guest? Then he marched right over to the piano, and the innocent girl looked rather small. He bent down and whispered something in her ear, and then more music filled the hall. “Don’t quit; keep playing,” was whispered in her ear. With his arms placed gently around her, their music joined for all to hear. “Don’t quit; keep playing,” as wondrous sounds rose from the floor. And raised the spirits of all those there that night, and changed their hearts for evermore. So when you find yourself on the stage of life, and wonder how on earth you slipped by, And what you’re doing seems so useless, and in your heart you question why… ‘Cause your music just seems not quite good enough, though you try your very best, Until you realize whose stage this is – and you are but the invited guest… “Don’t quit; keep playing,” is then whispered in your ear. You feel his arms around you, and know that he is near. “Don’t quit; keep playing,” and heaven’s choir will sing their part, And with the gentle touch from the master, you’ll hear the music written in your heart. So invite him to review your life, and he’ll help all your melodies, And hear how your efforts are magnified when the master joins you at the keys. “Don’t quit; keep playing,” is whispered in your ear. You feel his arms around you, and know that he is near. “Don’t quit; keep playing,” and heaven’s choir will sing their part, And with the gentle touch from the master, you’ll hear the music written in your heart.
Michael D. Squires - All musical material on this website is copyrighted by the owner, but may be used for non-commercial church or personal purposes without permission. Any recognition of me as the source (and perhaps a quick note to me) is appreciated.