From Paper Piano to Concert Pianist

A story about a boy who against all odds climbed his way to become a concert pianist.

Andrew Garrido teenager

My name is Andrew Garrido, and I live in the UK.

Growing up, I didn’t come from a musical family, and I wasn’t exposed to classical music outside of the occasional advert, but I enjoyed assemblies at school when the teacher led us in song from the piano in the corner of the main hall.

I was eleven when I decided that the piano was something I would like to try myself, but my mum wasn’t able to afford piano lessons for me, as she had been made redundant from her job after the global financial crisis.

I looked online to find some way to access piano lessons when I found Andrew Furmanczyk's courses on piano and music theory. I became more and more excited about learning with each video I watched, until eventually I sat at the computer for two hours a day to learn the next steps.
Andrew Garrido teenager

I found Andrew’s video lessons clear and engaging, and complex concepts were broken down so they were far easier to understand. I didn't have a keyboard to practise on, so I drew one onto pieces of paper.....

I didn't have a keyboard to practise on, so I drew one onto pieces of paper and the lessons helped me teach myself to hear the sounds of each musical note in my head. I could teach myself pieces from sheet music or songs from the radio by ear, all at my paper keyboard, and it was quickly my favourite part of my routine, a way to celebrate the good days and to escape from the bad. I continued to learn at my computer for six months before my mum was finally able to afford my first ten piano lessons, having borrowed money from friends, as she could see how committed I was. I turned up to my first with a small repertoire of pieces I could play from memory and a knowledge of music theory far beyond what was expected from a beginner, and after only four hours of one-to-one teaching, I obtained a Distinction in my first piano exam.

Andrew Garrido twenties
I kept the skills I learnt right the way through all my exams, which I completed in less than five years, only a couple of months before I was accepted to study at the Purcell School, the UK's top specialist music school for young musicians. I was awarded the Senior Piano Prize and Senior Academic Music Prize after my two years there, and a month later, aged eighteen, I obtained an LTCL, a degree-level qualification in music performance.

I am now a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the UK's top conservatoires, and I have been fortunate enough to have performed across Europe. I have since been featured in the Guardian and across the BBC to share my story.

Andrew Garrido Concert

I am so grateful to Andrew Furmanczyk that such a rich resource of lessons was available, without which it is highly likely I would not have been able to access music lessons and to begin my career as a pianist in the first place. I am in no doubt that those early lessons helped to found not only the basis of my learning, but my passion for music as a whole, and a curiosity which encouraged me to pursue music for life.

Andrew Garrido Piano
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