Never Give Up

Published May 14th, 2011

This is one of my favorite stories of all time.   I originally heard it on one of my motivational MK CD’s, Pearls of Wisdom.  Then as I was preparing a talk for our Stake Primary Auxiliary training this past week, I found some slightly different versions on a few different blogs. I combined my favorite parts of each, and am posting it here.  I hope it will inspire you, too, to try your best, never give up, and allow the Master to “improvise” on your behalf!

Once upon a time, a famous composer & pianist named Paderewski was scheduled to perform a concert in New York, where the concert had been sold out 6-months prior to his playing. On the night of the concert everyone came all dressed up (tuxes and long, beautiful evening dresses) an evening to remember. A mother brought her 9-year-old son because she wanted to get him excited about the idea of playing the piano. She had brought him in hopes that he would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the great Paderewski at the keyboard.  So against his wishes, he had come. As the story goes, right before the concert was to start, the boy finally got tired of waiting and started squirming around in his seat.  His mother turned around to talk with some friends, and he just couldn’t stay in his seat any longer, so he slipped away from her. The boy was strangely drawn to that Grand Steinway piano on the stage, flooded with beautiful lights.  Then, without much notice from the sophisticated audience, he sat down on that stool and stared wide-eyed at those black & white keys.  And he placed his little fingers in the right location, and began to play, would you believe, chopsticks. Well, the crowd hushed as hundreds of frowning faces turned in his direction.  They were irritated and embarrassed and even furious, and they began to shout: “Get that kid off the stage.” “This is an outrage.” “What is this boy doing here?” “Stop him!”  Can you see the picture?  The startled ushers began to move toward the stage to remove the boy, but backstage Paderewski overheard the sounds, and quickly put together what was happening.  He hurriedly put on his coat and rushed out to the stage; and without one word of announcement, he stooped over behind the boy, reached around both sides, and began to improvise a countermelody to harmonize and enhance chopsticks!  Can you see that picture?  And as the two of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s ear, “Keep going!  Don’t quit! Don’t stop!  Keep on playing!  Don’t quit! Keep going!”

And so it is with us.  We hammer away on our projects, which sometimes seem about as insignificant as chopsticks in a concert hall.  And about the time we’re ready to give it all up, along comes the Master, and leans over and whispers, “Keep going, don’t quit, keep on!  Don’t stop!  Don’t quit!”  And he improvises on our behalf.  Providing just the right touch at just the right moment.


Just found another version, from a 1999 Relief Society broadcast!  Cool!  I love this quote from Elder Faust:

“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’” 7


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  1. Tonja Masina on May 15, 2011

    Rachel! You are a very inspiring and beautiful spirit. Thank you for sharing.

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