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If you want a classic ‘book by it’s cover’ judging case, here it is. Dean Zimmer seems like a man of limited talents at face value, but you’ll see quickly that this man, like many in his situation is actually more talented in ways than those who take pride in matching society’s definition of normal.

 

 

I’ve seen it countless times as a piano teacher… I had one kid early on in my career who was born with a left hand, but without the matching counterpart on his right wrist. Most people (much less kids) in his situation would dismiss piano lessons as an impossibility, but not Dylan. When he would perform, the applause wouldn’t die down until long after he had gone back to his seat, and definitely not out of pity. He was good enough to even perform a Billy Joel classic on piano with none other than Billy Joel’s drummer one year. He woulda missed out on all of that if he’d listened to the ‘logic’ most of us subscribe to.

In another case I got a student who was legally blind, but not only that, as a college freshman he also knew next to nothing about how music worked much less how to play it. He just WANTED it, and badly. Fast forward to Mike’s senior year and he found himself onstage often, wowing crowds with not only covers of his new found piano men, but also playing his own originals too! He even won a national YouTube piano competition beating out every single competitor (who’d been playing all of their lives) nailing the grand prize which was a free trip to other end of the country to meet his idol, David Lanz and hang with him for the weekend!

 

photo: Mike Bohne / Dylan Bakert

Both boys are since out of school and deep into their careers by now, but I still tell their stories often. To me, it is the rare individual who can rise above whatever ails them and turn it into a blessing rather than a hindrance. People like Dean, Dylan and Mike have made this skill a habit through their entire lives and the next time I complain about some stupid passing annoyance in my life, I’ll remember them.

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