“I really want there to be acknowledgement that life is both, like, difficult and beautiful at the same time,” Gaelynn Lea Tressler of Minnesota once told PBS.
If anyone would know how true that statement is, it’s her. She was born with a genetic disorder that made it seemingly impossible for her to live a typical life, let alone master the violin. But she refused to let anything keep her from following her dreams!
Gaelynn Lea has osteogenesis imperfecta, which is also known as brittle bone disease. It makes her bones so fragile that they can break at nearly any moment. As a result, her bones broke more than 40 times before her mom even delivered her as a baby.
No one would blame her if the pain made her feel somewhat cynical, but that’s not her experience at all. “If I only focused on the negative, I would just not be a happy person,” she explained. “And so there usually tends to be an undercurrent of hope.”
One of the main sources of that hope has come from music. When she was little, she was inspired to pursue an instrument. At first, she tried out the cello, but it was too big for her. Next, she attempted the violin, but no matter which size she picked out, they were all too long for her to hold. That’s when she had the brilliant idea of playing it like a cello, and her talent quickly came to life!
“I’m not concerned with doing it the way everyone does it, because I can’t really do anything the way other people do it,” she said. “So for me, finding a way to play violin was just a matter of time.”
She took her sound a step further by using a looping pedal to record herself playing, layer her performances, and create a breathtaking final product. Instead of a solo violin, the audience gets to hear a whole ensemble — and it’s all Gaelynn Lea! To call it beautiful doesn’t do it justice!
What an incredible way to defy the odds! Thank you, Gaelynn Lea, for reminding us not to give up on our dreams!
See her in action in the video below, and share this story with your friends to bring them joy.
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