Play All of the Keys

We must play all the keys, seek the tunes only we can hear, and deliver them to those outside our box.

Vicki Lyons - Piano

I saw this on a picture while at a restaurant this past weekend. The author was, unfortunately, not listed on the piece of art because this phrase has captivated my thoughts ever since.

When a person begins piano lessons, they begin with one hand at Middle C. Almost everyone knows how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” even if they have not had one piano lesson. Why?

It’s safe. It’s predictable. Manageable.

Next, they add their left hand and more notes and octaves. Then, the all mysterious black keys and minors are presented. Pandora’s Box flies open wide when they discover the great Circle of Fifths.

As they progress through sevenths, ninths, sharps, and flats, they eventually discover adagio, allegro, forte, and decrescendo.

When all 88 keys of a piano are skillfully explored, the result is a magnificent piece of art, pleasing to the ears and soothing to the depths of the soul. The piano is maximized at it’s best and no two pieces ever sound the same, designed by the master performer, creating a once in a lifetime gift, presented to the listener and the musician.

That is how your life, and mine, should be. How easy it is, to play it safe in the middle, never advancing out to the remote regions of our soul to discover all of our gifts and talents.

Maybe it doesn’t sound right at first.

Maybe it’s not comfortable.

Maybe we don’t like the effort, the practice and hours of attention it requires to stretch ourselves beyond what we think we can achieve. We do not dare to venture out very far beyond “Middle C.”

Therefore, we limit ourselves.


It’s safe. It’s predictable. Manageable.

We aren’t rejected.

We stay in control. We are the masters of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

There are 88 keys on the keyboard. To a trained musician, playing within only 24 of those keys eventually sounds trite and shallow, especially when the understanding that that potential of every applied note with adeptness and expertise produces magnificence, clarity and purpose for not only the piano, but the mastermind behind the creation: the composer.

You will never fully understand your potential until you play all of your keys. Music is not to be hoarded, or kept to one’s self, but is meant to be shared. So are you. When you play all of the keys inside of you, you not only reveal your maximized potential, but you also display the glory of the Great Composer, your Creator God, to all those around you. (Aren’t we all so thankful that Georg Friedrich Händel was not content with just a little lamb?)


We must play all the keys,
seek the tunes only we can hear,
and deliver them to those outside our box.


“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16