Saturday, March 10, 2012

Handicap? What handicap?

Last month I had the opportunity to judge the strings festival in Rexburg. I judged 30 or 40 students. One young girl came in to perform, and she had been born with a birth defect that caused her right arm to be much smaller/shorter than the left, and that same arm only had a hand with 3 fingers.

Another girl, probably ten years old, came in and I noticed she had been crying. She wouldn't make eye contact, and she looked visibly upset. Her mom (who was her accompanist) told me that Maggie has autism and a social anxiety disorder. I immediately left the table and the rating sheets behind. I came near the piano and knelt down in front of her, trying to coax her to play. She put her violin up, and blew me away! Her tone filled the room, and the violin sang with intensity and brilliance I had not expected from someone so clearly apprehensive and shy.

I thought to myself, "I don't even know if she can talk...she won't look at me... but there's Maggie's voice! It's the power of music that helps her sing!"

I am thankful for the impressions those girls made on me. And here's yet another inspiring link of an accomplished violinist at Harvard with only one hand... Take a look here.