Andrew Furmanczyk: The largest YouTube star north of Vancouver

  • YouTube piano instructor, Andrew Furmanczyk has over 300,000 subscribers and over 50 million views
  • Piano and YouTube helped him recover from life-threatening heart condition
  • YouTube was best decision of his life he says, after meeting his wife who was interested in learning piano

So you want to learn music but you can’t afford an instructor? What’s the most common solution? Ah, the handy-dandy internet. Type in “how to play piano” in Google/YouTube and you’ll get videos from the Furmanczyk Academy of music.

Meet Andrew Furmanczyk of Furmanczyk Academy of Music (YouTube channel: Lypur). Considered one of the earliest YouTube stars and one of BC’s biggest, he picked up piano from his vocalist mom at the age of 5, developed a passion for it at 13 and was practicing day in and out for 4-6 hours a day in hopes of becoming the next Beethoven.

But there wasn’t any smooth sailing for Andrew, as he developed a life-threatening condition at the age of 17.

A huge bump on the road to success

Andrew contracted a rare condition called pericarditis in his late teens and was forced to drop out of school and job as a skating instructor. Gone were the dreams of becoming the best, as the main focus shifted to everyday survival.

“I knew my dreams of being a performer was ended. It was a career ending injury “says Andrew, since he had accrued severe tendonitis by playing piano, not knowing he had recurrent pericarditis.

Hopped up on concoctions of medication, he didn’t think he was going to make it past 25. With that, his perspective changed. In the wake of his depression and slow death, he realized that he had it better than most people.

How exactly?

Teaching the YouTube community piano and music theory

Even though he was dying, he thought he had it real good before he was sick, surrounded by loved ones and having the chance to explore his passion as a pianist. If he wasn’t going to leave a legacy behind, he wanted to at least make a small impact, in the only way he knew how.

Back when YouTube was still a grassroots movement (before Google’s acquisition), he posted a simple ‘How to Play Piano’ tutorial, with essentially no lighting. His new passion was to virtually share and teach his craft to others, something that hadn’t been done by anyone before at the time.

Giving back to the online community propelled him out of his depressive state, gave him a new purpose and actually helped him recover. He wasn’t even making a penny from it, until YouTube made him a second-generation partner back in 2008.

His internet fame had helped him reach new levels of friendship with YouTubers around the world, including his wife who lived in Vancouver at the time. Since then, he was invited to San Francisco’s Music Tech Summit and was mentioned in Forbes Magazine.

If video killed the radio star, YouTube definitely didn’t kill the piano star. YouTube inadvertently save Andrew’s life and helped launch his business.

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