Tag Archives: Billy Joel

Billy Joel And Michael Pollack: The Vanderbilt Piano Man

Don’t know if you’ve seen this video yet. If not, watch it. If you have, doesn’t hurt to watch it again.

The story behind it is that Billy Joel had come to speak to music students at Vanderbilt University. During the Q&A, one student, Michael Pollack, stood up and asked if he could play “New York State of Mind” with Billy. After a beat, Billy answered “yes”. So Michael went up on stage and accompanied the “piano man”.

I found this so cool. Not just because it must have been an amazing experience for Michael, but because of the courage it took him to ask in the first place. If you watch the video you can tell he’s scared to death when he stands up. Still, he asked. He took the risk, and it paid off in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as appearances on The Today Show (which is where I first saw the story). I’m sure he appeared on other shows, too.

Aside from the awesomeness of performing with Billy Joel (which come on…would be AMAZING!) there is also a life lesson we can all learn from this young man. I wonder how many of us fail to take that big risk? How many of us are too scared to ask for more? How many of us miss opportunities because we sit back and do nothing? I wonder what we miss by being like all the other students in that room who DIDN’T ask such an extraordinary thing? You know they ALL wanted to, but only Michael Pollack did. I know I’m guilty of the being more like the latter. I’m comfortable being “comfortable”, if you know what I mean. I tend to take the path of least resistance and once I’m comfortable I’m staying right where I am.

What do you think? Have you ever done something like this student? Or are you like the other students who could only applaud while the other guy got the glory?


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