A FLURRY of odd, high-pitched noises from a nearby room had Karen Goldsworthy worried until she realised it was coming from her computer.

She then saw that someone had posted a video on Facebook of her son Tom busking for the very first time at St Ives Shopping Centre at Goodna.

The 14-year-old, who has autism and is hearing and vision impaired on top of a number of other disabilities, was performing to raise funds for a new keyboard.

The video of the teenager playing a beautiful original tune captured the imagination of hundreds on social media.

Karen said the flood of messages were hard to keep up with, which included messages of support as well as offers of money and new equipment.

Tom first touched a piano when he was just a year old and is pitch perfect, meaning he is able to identify a musical note without the need of a reference tone.

He can tell you what note the sound of a metal whisk hitting a bowl is and what range you should be singing in.

The youngster can play 73 songs, cites Mozart and Freddy Mercury as the musicians he most identifies with and an incredible memory allows him to quickly pick up song he hears.

"He's trying to combine the genres," Karen said.

After a positive first experience performing for a crowd, which netted him $145, Tom wants to do it regularly and aims to put his music up online in the future.

"It's the best (feeling) in the world," he smiled.

"It's his way of being able to interact with everybody," Karen said.

Instead of sending money or items to the family, Karen asked for people to donate to Variety Queensland, Empower Assistance Dogs, Sunshine Butterflies Disability support Charity or World Access for the Blind Australia.

These charities have supported the family.

"Tom has taken a long time to get out to busking," she said.

"He can't handle singing, humming, whistling or cheering. It's been a long process.

"Some of his peers are getting part time jobs which is not possible at this stage for Tom. We thought he could work for his money. If he pays for his own piano through his work then he will learn the value of that and he will treat it better."

Tom has had 62 operations so far in his short life after he was born prematurely.

He is almost fully blind in his right eye, completely blind in his left eye and can hear next to nothing out of his right ear.

He's missing all of his carpal and tarsal bones and a condition means he can never be bumped or knocked.

"We played Mozart because it was calming when he'd come home from all the operations," Karen said.

"He was having operations fortnightly at one stage.

"It stemmed from there."

Tom began piano lessons in 2013 with teacher Bart Stenhouse, who still teaches him via Skype after he moved to Lismore.

The first song he ever learnt was Mary Had a Little Lamb but his catalogue now boasts more than 70 songs, including a couple of originals and nearly 20 Christmas tunes.

He has even offered some tips to Jessica Mauboy after the two crossed paths.

"He couldn't help himself, he was talking to her about different notes and why her song took off and why it was a hit for her," Karen laughed.

For those who are keen to follow Tom's journey his Facebook is regularly updated.



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