Two inspiring stories about the legendary George Gershwin:
When Irving Berlin and George Gershwin first met, Irving was already world-famous and George was struggling to survive on $35.00 a week. Instantly seeing George’s talent, Irving offered the young composer a job as his musical secretary at about three times the money he was making writing songs.
What a tempting offer!
Even as he gave it, Irving warned his new young friend not to accept his proposition. “If you do,” he said, “you may develop into a second-rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you will become a first-rate Gershwin.”
With a wisdom beyond his years, George took Berlin’s counsel to heart. He struggled on to become a first-rate Gershwin, beloved and admired around the world for his unforgettable music.
And now, for our second story:
George Gershwin got most of his ideas for his musical scores by just sitting at the piano and playing. Really just playing around. He would hit various chords, playing a bit of this and a bit of that. Soon something would come to him, and then, he’d be off and running.
George didn’t wait for inspiration to strike. Throughout his career he demonstrated that the way to learn how to do anything is to do it. As Samuel Johnson said so well, “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”
Bravo, George! Inspire on!
So what are our takeaways? Insist on being yourself. And, if you want to play the piano, then play the piano. If you want to write, write. As an old Estonian proverb says: The work itself will teach you. Write on!
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