Murray Mandel. Photo: Andrew Perryman.

SYDNEYSIDER Murray Mandel taught himself how to play classical guitar in 12 months well enough to start a professional playing career as a change from work as a microbiologist at the Prince of Wales hospital.

Mr Mandel can tell you how he did it – hard work, determination, persistence and patience.

Performing at the Marketplace for the two more days, he will ask for a donation to Lifeline Australia to hear him play.

Printed on signs around him are the numbers that make up his life, which these days are spent travelling around Australia in a van when he is not playing.

Mr Mandel has spent more than five years as a guitarist, 34 years as a microbiologist and 36 as a qigong/tai chi master and instructor.

You can read the sum to the cent the amount he has raised for Lifeline, more than $36,000 in a year and four months of travelling.

He can also tell you he has referred 51 people to Lifeline, people who have listened to him play.

But nowhere will you read that Mr Mandel is profoundly deaf.

Can he hear what he is playing?

Yes, he said, but not what a hearing person would hear.

Mr Mandel said he can tell from watching the face of listeners if they are enjoying his music.

Visit him at Bendigo Marketplace today or tomorrow to donate.