Born without hands, 15-year-old Alexei Romanov is changing the way the world looks at people with disabilities.
With a strong determination and a love for classical music, Alexei is living proof that hands are not required to be an accomplished pianist, something that seems almost unbelievable.
It was just two years ago when Alexei decided he wanted to play the piano and began a journey that has inspired many. Since then, Alexei’s fame has spread throughout television and the internet, giving him opportunities to touch lives with his unique story and beautiful music.
After playing with Kazan’s La Primavera orchestra, a music school in Moscow recruited Alexei to study in their music program.
“During the concert with the orchestra I was shaking from the tension. I can’t even remember what was happening,” Alexei said in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines. “But there was nothing I could do: I walked onto the stage, sat down and started playing. I felt my knees shaking. Then I realized that I was doing well – it’s as if the melody started flowing by itself. And so I calmed down.”
Alexei taught himself how to play the piano by first listening to the music pieces he wanted to play and then finding the corresponding notes and chords on the piano. He began reading sheet music formally for the first time well after he had already played with the well-known Kazan orchestra.
Alexei’s journey began with a synthesizer from his adoptive parents and with the help of a teacher in his Russian boarding school. On occasion, his friends would also help, sharing with him their favorite music so he could play it on the piano.
“I was particularly helped by two of my female friends. The girls taught me the basics of music – they told me how to read notes. They still help me. They send me sheet music, which I study and if I like something, I let it settle inside me.”
Alexei’s story reminds us that if we let our passion “settle inside” us, we can accomplish great things. Our inabilities do not define us; our minds stop us from accomplishing impossible things. We are capable of so much. If we allow goodness to settle inside of us, we can become an inspiration to all. It is when we live from the heart that we can do the most good for others and ourselves.
One of the most remarkable things about Alexei is that he does not take the credit for his talent.
“I personally receive inspiration, well, basically out of nowhere. Sometimes it seems that there is a sort of invisible, endless spiritual source out of which I can draw strength,” he said.
With an outlook like his, is it any wonder he can do impossible things? When we believe the impossible, everything becomes possible.