Frederick Ikpatt, Lagos, Nigeria

“I was born in Nigeria, Africa. I remember my earliest piano lesson at the age of 6 years old, all thanks to my wonderful mum, who wanted me to learn the instrument.

 I played for some years, and then stopped playing seriously for a while, because I did not enjoy the pieces I was assigned during that time (about 2004-2005). Then, the piano felt like a difficult chore, and I quit playing seriously. Occasionally here and there, I would dabble with a few pieces.

Then fast-forward to 2010 onwards, when I started watching YouTube, I was inspired by two particular piano Youtubers: kylelandry and Paul Barton. I was also motivated by some classical pianists such as Valentina Lisitsa, Yundi Li, Valentina Igoshina, Lang Lang. I picked up the piano and started working on a piece well beyond my level (Fantaisie Impromptu) during my university years, but put in several hours, and practiced very hard (at times 8 hours in a day when I had no classes or was on holiday). I sought practice rooms even when school had shut down for the winter, many a time having to persuade the key custodian of the practice rooms. Working on that piece and some others during that time greatly developed my technique, even though I could not play the piece as well as I desired.

I did stop after a few years (2013 onwards) because of some major life challenges related to my health/well-being until 2016. However, I resumed playing in 2017 after a mandatory national program where I had to be away from home for a year. Since then, I have been committed. I practice everyday despite a very busy work schedule. Once, I had a 17-hour workday, but still put in the practice time (video on my YouTube channel) because I have a sincere love for the instrument.

I thoroughly enjoy the piano and desire to share my playing with others. I created my YouTube channel (Fred the AfricanPianist) in order to do this. My philosophy with learning the instrument (and anything in general) is that passion and discipline produce wonderful results with patience and time. In my opinion, it’s best to work on pieces one enjoys and one should not be forced or pressured to learn the instrument — And most of all, keep striving and don’t give up…”

— Frederick Ikpatt, Lagos, Nigeria

Fred’s cover of “I Can Go the Distance” published on his YouTube channel.

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