Tag Archives: practice

Stand, Ask, Deliver

A friend on Facebook shared this video of a guy who got to play piano with Billy Joel. In the video, I noticed some great stuff than any writer will appreciate. This student apparently loves Billy Joel songs, specifically New York State of Mind.

Maybe he plays them on public pianos whenever he goes somewhere.  He probably has accompanied many people, singers at his school perhaps.  He’s definitely practiced like crazy.  I know because we can’t just do stuff.  We all need practice.

Billy Joel came to his school, Vanderbilt University, and invited people to ask him questions. Michael Pollack’s friends all pointed toward him. As he speaks, you can hear the fear trembling through his vocal chords, but when Billy calls on him he stands up.

Michael then asks the question he’s probably thought about asking ever since he heard that Billy Joel would visit his school.  “I was wondering if I could play it (New York State of Mind) with you?”

What a gutsy guy! How many of us have wanted to ask something like this, but never even stood up to make the ask? We often psyche ourselves out before anyone could point the finger our way.

If you keep watching the video, you’ll see something else.  Billy Joel says, “Ok.”

That’s generous.  He has no idea what kind of skills this guy has. Most singers prefer accompanists who make them look good.

Then, Billy opens his book and lets Michael see his score. At this point, our jaws drop open.

Michael’s fingers tickle the tops of the keys adeptly, and Billy let’s him take the show.  While they don’t have the seasoned sound of people who tour together for months on end, Michael holds up his part of the song with strength and ease.

He was gutsy enough to stand and ask, but smart and thorough enough to have practiced well for this day.  Bravo Michael.  Thanks for the inspiration.

It’s time to get back to proofing my book.  I want to be ready to follow through when it’s my time to stand and make the ask.