Imagine It

My middle daughter works for a symphony in a mid-sized city, and frequently we get to take in concerts when we visit.

“Did you ever imagine when you were growing up that you would someday perform all over the world?”

Behzod Abduraimov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Behzod Abduraimov, publicity photo

Last fall my youngest daughter and I attended a piano concert there with a young artist, Behzod Abduraimov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan (located in central Asia). He blew me away. His playing style was to hunch—potter-like—over the piano keys, indeed, sometimes curving his back and neck down to where his eyes were level to the piano keys. He pulled amazing sound from and displayed such intense emotion for that keyboard. I was enthralled. It was almost as if he was making love to the piano, it was so passionate. I guess that’s not so unusual in a concert of this caliber. It’s part of the performance.

The program book quoted one critic as saying of Abduraimov, “Keep your ear on this one” and noted his “captivating performances” that receive international praise. Only 25 years old, Abduraimov has played on both coasts of the United States as well as in Japan, Slovakia, China, Sweden, Austria, and other halls in Europe. In this concert he was the featured pianist in a Beethoven composition written for piano and orchestra. His performance was spellbinding.

In a question-and-answer session after the concert with the symphony conductor and the pianist, a young, starstruck concertgoer asked the pianist, “Did you ever imagine when you were growing up that you would someday perform all over the world?”

“Yes!” Abduraimov responded immediately, which surprised me and maybe also the questioner. But perhaps it shouldn’t have. He was just five when he began playing piano, and studied with noted teachers as he progressed. He has lived piano all his life.

We rarely achieve much if we don’t first imagine it, have a goal in front of us, and have role models who demonstrate how it is done.

Indeed, as I was reflecting later, I credit this same daughter’s own passion for beautiful music in a variety of genres to her piano teacher throughout elementary, middle, and high school, Carolyn Sachs. Mrs. Sachs, as we called her in that role even though she was also a neighbor and mother of my youngest daughter’s very good friend, was a patient but perfectionist piano teacher. I have no doubt that Tanya’s career so far in music administration owes much to this wonderful introduction to the world of classical music through Mrs. Sachs.

As Tanya sat with Mrs. Sachs in her lovely home studio outfitted with two grand pianos, she began to glimpse—and hear—what the life of a musician and being around music from centuries ago could mean. She began to love great music—not only hearing it but also making it. She continued her music education, participating in middle and high school band and then wisely picking a college and major that offered “music industry” as a focus. That was a very practical choice because it widens the options for students who may not have what it takes—or are willing to pour their lives into five to eight hours (or more) of practice each day. They find happiness and productivity in other roles in the music world!

Sometimes our children follow paths different from what we imagine for them. What’s important is exposing them to numerous role models and possibilities as much as we are able. That doesn’t mean enrolling them in every dance, sport, music, art, karate, theater class or group that comes along. It may mean some trial and error—signing up for a choir that the child ends up hating, or learning they really don’t enjoy soccer very much. We don’t know where they will connect to a special pulse that beats near their heart—the kind of passion and energy young Behzod Abduraimov puts into his piano concerts. He looked like he was having a blast. Hard work, yes. But rewarding.

That’s what most of us want for our kids. Don’t you? What did you dream of becoming? Did it work out? Who helped you? Have you thanked them?


This is the last week I’m offering our free Another Way pocket planner calendar for 2016. Perhaps you could also use it for a daily gratitude calendar! Just write to or Another Way, 1251 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802.