The story of a talented 13-year-old pianist has captured the hearts of viewers following her mesmerising performance of Chopin’s Nocturne in B flat minor at Leeds Train Station, as part of Channel 4’s The Piano. Lucy is completely blind and autistic, and despite this, she played the complex piece with ease, leaving renowned pianist Lang Lang and singer-songwriter Mika stunned into silence.
The show features amateur pianists from across the UK performing on public pianos in various railway stations. However, what the pianists don’t know is that they are being secretly watched by Lang Lang and Mika, who will decide who will progress to the next round.
Lucy’s story is particularly heartwarming, with her family and teacher explaining how her love of music began as a little girl, who was diagnosed with cancerous tumours in her eyes. Her mother, Candice, recalled the distressing times in hospital, with Lucy crying and screaming during treatments. Candice spoke of her trust in the doctors and nurses, who were eventually amazed by Lucy’s playing on a small keyboard.
This is where her teacher, Daniel Bath, entered the picture, through his work with The Amber Trust, which helps blind musicians. Bath adapted his teaching to include a method where Lucy would place her hands on top of his, allowing her to feel which fingers played which notes. He commented that he had never met anyone in his career who had the same depth of understanding of music as Lucy.
Lucy’s struggles with communication and being globally developmentally delayed, caused by a chromosome 16 duplication, meant that playing music gave her a way of communicating without words. Her mother remembers how, despite her daughter’s struggles with communication, she played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star perfectly on a small keyboard, which prompted her to find a piano teacher. Lucy’s love for music shone through, and her teacher took on the challenge of teaching her to play more complex pieces.
Lucy’s performance is a testament to the power of music and the human spirit. Despite her challenges, she was able to find a way to express herself through music and found success in her passion for playing the piano. The public has been awestruck by her talent, and Lucy’s story is an inspiration to others that even in the most difficult of circumstances, one can find joy and purpose through the power of music.