Thompson Egbo-Egbo says he has a responsibility to help inner-city kids learn music

Canadian jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo was born in Nigeria and came to Canada at the age of four. He began playing the piano when he was just six. Today, he performs across the country and, through his arts foundation, helps Toronto kids transcend their social and economic circumstances.
Canadian jazz pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo was born in Nigeria and came to Canada at the age of four. He began playing the piano when he was just six-years-old. Today, he performs across the country and helps Toronto kids transcend their social and economic circumstances. (Rick Clifford)
Listen25:59

Thompson Egbo-Egbo says he started playing the piano by accident.

Concerned that the renowned jazz pianist wasn't adjusting well in school, a teacher recommended that he be tested and possibly be put on drugs like Ritalin.

Instead, his mom decided to enrol him in music lessons to give him something to focus on.

Thompson Egbo-Egbo has been playing piano since he was six. (Rick Clifford)

At Dixon Hall, a community centre down the street from where he grew up in Toronto's Regent Park, he was able to take lessons ranging from piano to drums at two dollars a session.

He now sits on the board of Dixon Hall.

Through the arts foundation he created, he gives back to the same community where he grew up.

"As opposed to starting something new, now I'm trying to see how I can support other programs that are out there," he told The Sunday Edition's host Michael Enright.

Click "listen" above to hear the interview and to hear Thompson Egbo-Egbo play some of his favourite pieces.

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