The conversations we have with ourselves either facilitate or slow down the pursuit to understand potential. It is not the external obstacles that determine one’s path, rather, the process of working with the challenges that accompany all of us who want to “go for it” in life.

Nicholas McCarthy was born in 1989 without his right hand and only began to play the piano at the late age of 14 after being inspired by a friend play Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata.

Having once been told that he would never succeed as a concert pianist, Nicholas would not be discouraged and went on to study at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London. His graduation in July 2012 drew press headlines around the world, being the only one-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in its 130 year history.

Nicholas is a champion of the dynamic and brave world of left hand alone repertoire, a repertoire that first came into being in the early 19th Century and developed rapidly following the First World War as a result of the many injuries suffered on the Battlefield. Paul Wittgenstein was responsible for its 20th Century developments with his commissions with Ravel, Prokofiev and Benjamin Britten amongst others.

Having performed extensively throughout the UK in all the major venues including The Royal Albert Hall. Internationally Nicholas has toured South Africa, South Korea, Malta, Kazakhstan and the U.S.

“I visualize myself doing the thing others tell me I can’t do.”Click-To-Tweet

In This Episode:

  • Overcoming a late start to playing the piano
  • The confidence his parents instilled in him from early age
  • Visualizing the thing he was told he couldn’t do
  • His process for embracing challenge
  • Using imagery as a guide for performing in new venues
  • Why he loves the piano
  • The transition from amateur to pro
  • The meaning behind anything is possible
  • How he deals with his inner critic
  • Belief as a word that cuts to the center of what he stands for
  • Creating a relationship with his fans through music
  • Exercise as a method for staying mentally strong

 

Pianist |

Nicholas McCarthy is a British pianist. Born without a right hand, he was the first left-hand-only pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in London in its 130-year history. McCarthy was raised in Tadworth, Surrey.

 

One comment

  • Hearing the thought "anything is possible" and your ideas surrounding it spurred a lot of thinking on a long drive home from Pittsburgh to Atlanta yesterday. Like you, I think that you could potentially set someone up for a let-down if you created the impression that they could become an astronaut or pianist if the time to start that journey had passed. But what I have found through my own adventure is that when you set out on a path towards greatness and then commit to thinking, feeling, and embracing your way through all of the ups and downs that will come along that path, anything IS possible. You just never really know what that "anything" will end up being. Because exposing yourself to that type of mindset will lead to opportunities, experiences, challenges, let-downs and triumphs that you may never had imagined you would come across or feel. So the lefts and right you will take in life as a result of those unknowns are pretty unpredictable. One things is for sure, you will have new paths open up and will have a much larger sense of control over dictating the path you end up on. That I have found to be very true. This string of thoughts has yet to reach a conclusion. I am not saying there is a right or wrong when it comes to the thought of "anything is possible." I guess I just think there is something to be said for the fact that in a very broad sense of the word, maybe anything is possible? Not sure. Maybe you have some thoughts. The podcasts are fantastic, Mike. I look forward to them every week. Alyssa R's thought that "crazy ideas are the basis of the forward movement of the world" is one of the more profound things I have heard here recently. It excites me to think about how right she may be. Keep the nuggets coming, I will be listening. And thank you!