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Making music: Michigan teen’s impromptu piano performance stuns locals

This is why they put a piano in the #lansingmall. Self taught!! #yiruma. Wow. Gave me goosebumps!!

Posted by Sara Hadley on Friday, January 22, 2016

A Michigan teenager has grabbed headlines this week for a video that went viral of him playing piano at a local mall, according to Buzzfeed.

Monntel West, an 18-year-old student from Lansing, Michigan, was waiting for a friend at the Lansing Mall when he decided to start playing Yiruma’s “River Flows in You” on a public piano.

Sara Hadley, a photographer from Lansing, began filming West’s performance and posted the video to Facebook, where it has racked up more than half a million views.

Hadley said she had goosebumps watching the performance, which stopped mall traffic for several minutes.

“He wasn’t paying attention to anything else going on,” she said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “He was just there playing away.”

According to the article, West is a “self-taught pianist, guitarist, and percussionist” and taught himself how to play the piano using YouTube videos of a visually-based piano program called Synthesia.

West said he does not know how to read sheet music and plays by hearing music and memorizing keys.

“I like how different instruments sound,” he said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “I just want to know how these beautiful sounds get produced.”

Music is the teen’s passion, West said, and he has several instruments under his belt, including the flute, xylophone, tenor sax and violin.

“It was something I was really good at,” he said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “Most people have sports that they’re good at. Music was my strong point, my talent.”

Since the video has been posted to Facebook, West has been offered two months of free music lessons from the Michigan-based Okemos Music Academy and has even had a GoFundMe page set up to fund more lessons.

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