Musician who has never taken a lesson surprises customers in Toronto stores
Published Tuesday, April 9, 2019 8:12PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2019 8:16PM EDT
Mark Edwards has never taken a music lesson in his life, but when he sits down at a piano, his fingers soar across the keys.
Playing at a piano located in an Indigo on Bay and Bloor streets, Edwards becomes lost in his music. He plays original compositions and often incorporates the clarinet into his work, using one hand to hold the wind instrument and another to play the piano.
“The music kind of evolves with me,” he told CTV News Toronto.
The 29-year-old started playing the piano in 2013 when he came across the instrument at an outdoor art exhibition.
“I kind of started with like chopsticks,” he said. “Then I slowly started added more fingers. I didn’t even know what chords were at the time.”
Edwards started to practice at other public pianos across Toronto, including ones located inside bookstores, church basements, universities and hotel lobbies. He says he does not read sheet music and does not own a piano of his own.
“They’re expensive, really expensive,” he said. “They’re noisy- we haven’t lived in a house for a while, so I’m pretty sure the neighbours wouldn’t appreciate it too much.”
Edwards seems to enjoy playing his music in public and says he has only been asked to leave a property two or three times.
“Every piano that I play I kind of feel like it has its own personality, so I actually play them all different,” he said. “So even though it’s the same music, I get a different feeling out of it.”
“I generally don’t play it the same way twice especially because I’m kind of learning while playing. It’s kind of like a circular kind of thing.”
Edwards says he can sometimes get carried away in his music and can play the piano for hours at a time, to the delight of shoppers and bystanders.
“I don’t think I’d have the courage to come and sit in the middle of Indigo and play,” said one Indigo shopper. “He’s great.”
Edwards said he hopes to be able to teach music one day, or even conduct.
“If somebody wants to start playing an instrument because they see me doing this … then that’s also a good thing.”
Until then, Edwards says he will continue to play on public pianos across the city.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Scott Lightfoot