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Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814020
02/12/19 11:39 AM
02/12/19 11:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 569
Toronto, Canada
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thepianoplayer416 Offline
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Toronto, Canada
A few years ago, a friend got his young son into a Yamaha program. At least 1 parent was supposed to accompany the child to his lessons. The mother was not working at the time and went with him every week. At the end of the year the son had his piano recital. After that the parents decided he has no interest in music and let him quit. The mother felt that she was doing more practicing that he was. He is into cooking and the parents think he might become a chef.

In some music programs like Suzuki & Yamaha from Japan teachers require and encourage at least 1 parent to come to the lessons so that the learning can be reinforced at home. When a parent is doing all the learning and a child is not, you have a problem. From the info you provided, the lessons went on for at least 2 years. And you child learned to play the assigned pieces sufficiently after practicing at home. Otherwise the teacher wouldn't be assigning new pieces. The issue here is that you're doing more work that your child should be doing.

I started piano playing as an older adult. Nobody in the family is into music so I'm learning mostly on my own outside of the group class I'm going to once a week. I have a metronome app on my phone. When I'm working on a new piece, I'd have the metronome in the background at a low volume until I get a piece to the performance level. And I do recordings for my pieces. When I'm done practicing, I'd make a recording of the piece I'm working on even with wrong notes. I can sight-read up to an intermediate level. When playing advanced pieces I rely on my recordings to learn the pieces. When I'm not playing, I'd listen to the recordings and compare my playing with the sheet music. The next time I'm at a piano I know exactly where I need to work on and start with my weak spots.

In your case, instead of you helping from the beginning of a song to the end, you can be recording and let your child play through the whole song. And then you ask what he/she thinks about the playing and the things that need improvement. And then the 2 of you can sit away from the piano and listen to the recording together. When it comes to playing music, listening is as important as reading. After listening a few times, mark down everything that can be improved and go back to the piano. Your child needs to be able to hear different notes and beat patterns. I got used to hear my recordings that if I played a few notes in a way I didn't like, I'd stop and replay them in different ways.

In the beginning, not everybody can sight-read well. Fortunately there are already many YouTube uploads. I did learn many pieces from memory by listening. A lot of times before and after I'm done learning a piece, I'd find an online recording of the same piece (if available) and do a comparison. You learn a lot by listening to yourself and other performances.

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Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: gooddog] #2814051
02/12/19 01:06 PM
02/12/19 01:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 3,846
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by gooddog
OT but in the US, jelly and jam are not interchangeable. Jelly is made from stained, jelled fruit juice. Jam is made from crushed fruit pulp and preserves are made with large or whole chunks of fruit. None should be eaten near a Steinway but it’s okay if the piano is a Yamaha...(running for cover) laugh

Wow! It's amazing what one can learn on the PW forums! grin


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2814068
02/12/19 01:38 PM
02/12/19 01:38 PM
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Zaphod Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Wow! It's amazing what one can learn on the PW forums! grin


It's the only reason I joined actually. The piano playing is just a front.

Similarly, I am actually a member of a cooking forum in which I learnt quite a lot about harmonic progressions, even though I can't cook. So, I mean, there's that.....

Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: gooddog] #2814096
02/12/19 02:33 PM
02/12/19 02:33 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,353
Florida
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Originally Posted by gooddog
OT but in the US, jelly and jam are not interchangeable. Jelly is made from stained, jelled fruit juice. Jam is made from crushed fruit pulp and preserves are made with large or whole chunks of fruit. None should be eaten near a Steinway but it’s okay if the piano is a Yamaha...(running for cover) laugh


LOL!

Originally Posted by Zaphod


It's the only reason I joined actually. The piano playing is just a front.

Similarly, I am actually a member of a cooking forum in which I learnt quite a lot about harmonic progressions, even though I can't cook. So, I mean, there's that.....


LOLOL!


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Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814101
02/12/19 02:48 PM
02/12/19 02:48 PM
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Wisconsin, USA
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Lakeviewsteve Offline
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The part of your comment regarding the teacher becoming impatient with her is striking a note with me. I think beginning at age 5 is fine but an impatient teacher is not. I would look for another teacher before this one damages your daughter and makes her dislike the piano. A teacher should never be impatient with any student at any age. That doesn't do good for anyone. A 5 year old is so impressionable a bad experience with a teacher could make her dislike the piano the rest of her life.


Bösendorfer 170
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2814135
02/12/19 03:54 PM
02/12/19 03:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 3,846
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
A teacher should never be impatient with any student at any age.

Agreed! I home schooled my daughter for a few years, but rather nontraditionally, I did it by hiring a private teacher. He seemed nice enough - a retired Catholic priest. But some time later, she told me he would yell at her. I was so furious!!! This was not my point of homeschooling her - to have her be yelled at by a teacher - something that teachers even rarely do now in public schools!


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814136
02/12/19 03:59 PM
02/12/19 03:59 PM
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Zaphod Offline
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I have one pupil myself actually, an adult beginner.

For the record, I tend to go with the capitalistic view of teaching which is that it's a two-way deal. They get the lesson, I get the money. I don't have the right to get (at least outwardly) impatient with them.

Having said that, it's not an absolute. If a student is frustrating then there is that, but I think the capitalistic aspect overshadows it. If your student wants lessons and has, say, not practiced, then they are entitled to that , no questions asked.

Others may disagree, but that's my take. I do not agree with the teacher getting impatient, especially with kids. I tend to look upon that as the teacher being self-important. You can lead a horse to water etc. etc. - and that's all we can do.

Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814163
02/12/19 05:02 PM
02/12/19 05:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,749
Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline
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I've been re-reading all the posts and I strongly think you need more information before you decide what to do. The best place to start is with the piano teacher. Schedule a time to have a private, (the child is not there), and candid conversation with the teacher. Using what you learn there, take a long, hard look at your child and yourself to determine if she is having a positive experience and is having her individual needs met. My experience as a public school teacher taught me that learning problems can come from multiple places such as: the child's abilities, motivation, distractions and desire, the parent's goals and motivations, the match between the student and the teacher, the learning environment, the amount of rest and free time the child gets, the practice environment, the siblings, etc. I would also like to suggest that you have a conversation with your daughter's elementary school teacher to see if she is struggling there too.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814229
02/12/19 07:28 PM
02/12/19 07:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 270
New York
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I think you are picking up on valuable clues - specifically the impatient teacher, and the sense that something is not what you had hoped for in your daughter's enjoyment of music.

I also focused on your comment that you and your daughter are very busy - my kids are a lot older than yours, but your comment immediately brought me back to the days of not really sleeping and just go-go-go all day to get them from one place to another.

It may be that a less intense schedule might also help - that would indeed mean that something would have to drop out - perhaps your daughter has some ideas of which activities she likes most at the moment.

I do remember wondering at a certain point whether all the activities were worth it - for our city , we were under-scheduled, and yet my kids' schedule was much more structured than mine as a child. I can see now (they are in their 20s) that at least some of their activities from the early years have turned into hobbies or interests that seem to bring them happiness, a community, a team, connectedness (music, sports, writing in their case, but it could have been anything). I can't say we did it right - there was too much at a certain point. We did do one thing right, which was back away from travel sports - I thought that was a mistake at the time, but I see now with 20=-20 hindsight that both of them are now into sports for the fun and camaraderie, and we did manage to teach them some skills while not killing their enjoyment.

One other random comment, which has to do with siblings who have different skill sets. My brother was a talented dancer (since we're both over the hill, he is now a talented teacher, but for 20 years he was a world class dancer - guesting, principal, the works.). Yours truly was the trailing sibling. I did dance anyhow, but I was always the bottom of the class while he was the top. It was actually okay - I got into things like tap and jazz, while staying with one ballet class a week, and this experience supports my periodic forays into flamenco, which I love.

The only time there was a crisis was when the ballet school decided to separate the class - I was 14, and my brother was 12. Of course I was sent to the lower class, while my brother and all my friends were sent to the upper class. It was a pretty rotten day, and probably could have been handled better. I was upset by the judgement, and quit ballet. But kept up with jazz and tap - no sorting hat there. And a few weeks later, the teacher of the lower ballet class came up to me in the hall and said "I really want you in my class, will you come?" I did, and to this day I am grateful for this teacher's tact and understanding.

Not sure what conclusion you can draw from that - but my firm belief is that for arts, keep the judgement to yourself for as long as you possibly can, and try to give the kids something that can turn into a life long source of enjoyment, at whatever level they are most comfortable at.


Mason & Hamlin A ('97)
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: Medved1] #2814234
02/12/19 07:32 PM
02/12/19 07:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 3,846
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by Medved1
The only time there was a crisis was when the ballet school decided to separate the class - I was 14, and my brother was 12. Of course I was sent to the lower class, while my brother and all my friends were sent to the upper class. It was a pretty rotten day, and probably could have been handled better. I was upset by the judgement, and quit ballet. But kept up with jazz and tap - no sorting hat there. And a few weeks later, the teacher of the lower ballet class came up to me in the hall and said "I really want you in my class, will you come?" I did, and to this day I am grateful for this teacher's tact and understanding.

What a beautiful tale. And that teacher who spoke to you in the hall was a real gem!


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2814262
02/12/19 08:00 PM
02/12/19 08:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,072
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Online content
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Medved1
The only time there was a crisis was when the ballet school decided to separate the class - I was 14, and my brother was 12. Of course I was sent to the lower class, while my brother and all my friends were sent to the upper class. It was a pretty rotten day, and probably could have been handled better. I was upset by the judgement, and quit ballet. But kept up with jazz and tap - no sorting hat there. And a few weeks later, the teacher of the lower ballet class came up to me in the hall and said "I really want you in my class, will you come?" I did, and to this day I am grateful for this teacher's tact and understanding.

What a beautiful tale. And that teacher who spoke to you in the hall was a real gem!


It really is amazing what a considerate teacher can accomplish!


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Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: gooddog] #2814691
02/13/19 04:52 PM
02/13/19 04:52 PM
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Posts: 50
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Originally Posted by gooddog
It doesn’t sound like your very young daughter is having a positive experience.

... ...

Why did she start lessons at 5 years old? Unless she is an extremely gifted child protégé, (and she doesn’t sound like one,) 5 years old, even 7 years old, is probably too young.





Five years old is a standard starting age, actually. And I can't see how anyone could claim that seven years old is too young to start.

Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: MrCatMissMew] #2814706
02/13/19 05:12 PM
02/13/19 05:12 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,220
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Originally Posted by MrCatMissMew
Originally Posted by gooddog
It doesn’t sound like your very young daughter is having a positive experience.

Why did she start lessons at 5 years old? Unless she is an extremely gifted child protégé, (and she doesn’t sound like one,) 5 years old, even 7 years old, is probably too young.


Five years old is a standard starting age, actually. And I can't see how anyone could claim that seven years old is too young to start.

Actually, it depends on the child.


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Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: MrCatMissMew] #2814709
02/13/19 05:17 PM
02/13/19 05:17 PM
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Posts: 7,985
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by MrCatMissMew
Five years old is a standard starting age, actually. And I can't see how anyone could claim that seven years old is too young to start.

Five is standard?

There are 8-year-old kids who should not be doing piano. It's arbitrary to label kids' readiness to learn by age. Life doesn't work that way.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: MrCatMissMew] #2814777
02/13/19 07:11 PM
02/13/19 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCatMissMew

Five years old is a standard starting age, actually. And I can't see how anyone could claim that seven years old is too young to start.

I think the child would need to have basic reading skills (in English, that is) as well as a good ability to concentrate to be able to start at five - or even seven. If the child can't read simple words, how can he/she start learning to read music - would the teacher just teach by rote? (And lead to the problems similar to the OP's child?)

My baby sister (who's still called 'Baby', as in the movie Dirty Dancing wink ) who's fourteen years younger than me, could easily have started lessons at five (but not me). At the ripe old age of three, she came into my bedroom and saw me listening to my new Walkman (portable cassette-tape player, for those who're old enough to know what that is), and asked to listen too. I rewound the tape - of Alicia de Larrocha playing Schumann's Fantasie in C - and put the earphones on her. She sat almost still on my bed, listening intently - for the whole half hour of the complete work.

Next day, I started playing the beginning of the first movement on the piano.....and she immediately came to me and said that was what she heard on my Walkman yesterday.

She did eventually start piano lessons at nine, but gave up before she turned thirteen - due to a combination of lack of support at home (she didn't have my pig-headedness to keep practicing against the TV that my mother watched all day, and I'd long ago left home for good by then) and increasing interest in clothes, fashion, friends etc - having reached Grade 6 in half the time it took me. She never again touched the piano, but got a good job with a well-known music publishing firm on the strength of her ability to read music fluently, where she still works now. Part of her job involves proof-reading through new compositions before publication, checking for mistakes by the composers......

As I've said so often before - piano lessons for kids are never wasted, even if said kids give up within a few short years.........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: bennevis] #2814819
02/13/19 08:53 PM
02/13/19 08:53 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,220
Phoenix, Arizona
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by MrCatMissMew
Five years old is a standard starting age, actually. And I can't see how anyone could claim that seven years old is too young to start.

I think the child would need to have basic reading skills (in English, that is) as well as a good ability to concentrate to be able to start at five - or even seven. If the child can't read simple words, how can he/she start learning to read music - would the teacher just teach by rote? (And lead to the problems similar to the OP's child?)
Yes - basic reading skills are extremely important. I've heard that from several piano teachers over the years.

Quote
My baby sister (who's still called 'Baby', as in the movie Dirty Dancing wink ) who's fourteen years younger than me, could easily have started lessons at five (but not me). At the ripe old age of three, she came into my bedroom and saw me listening to my new Walkman (portable cassette-tape player, for those who're old enough to know what that is), and asked to listen too. I rewound the tape - of Alicia de Larrocha playing Schumann's Fantasie in C - and put the earphones on her. She sat almost still on my bed, listening intently - for the whole half hour of the complete work.
That's amazing thumb

Quote
Next day, I started playing the beginning of the first movement on the piano.....and she immediately came to me and said that was what she heard on my Walkman yesterday.
That's REALLY amazing. thumb thumb thumb

Quote
She did eventually start piano lessons at nine, but gave up before she turned thirteen - due to a combination of lack of support at home (she didn't have my pig-headedness to keep practicing against the TV that my mother watched all day, and I'd long ago left home for good by then) and increasing interest in clothes, fashion, friends etc - having reached Grade 6 in half the time it took me. She never again touched the piano, but got a good job with a well-known music publishing firm on the strength of her ability to read music fluently, where she still works now. Part of her job involves proof-reading through new compositions before publication, checking for mistakes by the composers...…As I've said so often before - piano lessons for kids are never wasted, even if said kids give up within a few short years.........
So basically, studying piano as a child enabled your sister to have a successful career in the music field. Thanks for the reminder that there is more to the music industry than just performing and teaching. smile


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Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814885
02/14/19 01:09 AM
02/14/19 01:09 AM
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parent_helper Offline OP
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bennevis - My child #1 has a teacher with a wide range of students (young beginners and highly skilled older students). The issue is that things are going so well for my child #1 and his teacher that I'm loathe to jeopardize it by adding child #2 into the equation, because child #2 being quick tempered and has had troubling with frustration in general.

Gooddog - In life, there's a bit of luck involved in getting teachers who get you, and unfortunately for my child #2, we're still searching for teachers who can see beyond her temper; what do you do with a child who is quick to panic when they don't understand something?? I've always been the most patient with her, and we naturally fell into the routine of me re-teaching everything that's not understood sufficiently elsewhere. Sadly for my child #2, there really isn't a teacher who sees the good in her as I do.

Medved1 - Thank you for sharing the beautiful story about your compassionate ballet teacher :-) .

ShyPianist - I've been very reluctant to believe in innate talent; it just seems so sad. I am going to ask the piano teachers on the other forum if it'd be really so bad if I just stop the official piano lessons and let her practice as slowly as she needs to, until she gets to a level where there'd be a teacher who is willing to teach her. I am having trouble finding someone whom I can hire to teach her slowly, but slowly is something my daughter and I do together. She's always learned differently from others, and it's always taken many different tries, from different angles.

Thank you all for taking the time to share your advice.

Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814924
02/14/19 03:27 AM
02/14/19 03:27 AM
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Hi @parent_helper, I’m sorry if that’s what you took from my post. I’m not talking about innate talent at all. In fact I’m convinced from what I’ve seen that my daughter would do very well indeed with piano. No, I’m talking about temperament. Formal instrumental lessons are not right for every child. I really do think you need to ask yourself what you want child #2 to get out of them. If an appreciation and love of music is the aim, then formal lessons are far from the only way of developing it. That’s what I was trying to get at above.


“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt) - stolen from Kreisler
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2814938
02/14/19 04:42 AM
02/14/19 04:42 AM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by parent_helper
I've been very reluctant to believe in innate talent; it just seems so sad. I am going to ask the piano teachers on the other forum if it'd be really so bad if I just stop the official piano lessons and let her practice as slowly as she needs to, until she gets to a level where there'd be a teacher who is willing to teach her. I am having trouble finding someone whom I can hire to teach her slowly, but slowly is something my daughter and I do together. She's always learned differently from others, and it's always taken many different tries, from different angles.

So, are you saying that your daughter has a learning disability?

Her learning pace is already on the slow end, but if she is never taught HOW to read music in the first place, this slow, painful process will continue forever.

Note reading is the foundation of learning any pitched musical instrument. Rote learning is reserved for monkeys.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: please advise the parent of a young piano student [Re: parent_helper] #2815065
02/14/19 10:54 AM
02/14/19 10:54 AM
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Very few 7 years old kids can sight play or can learn by themselves. Only a SMART and talented one can do that. Your kid is normal. At 7 years old, the teacher should not teach your kid as if she were an adult. Yamaha Music School offers lesson for 7 years old. Reading from your post above, your kid is definitely a typical kid and Yamaha group lesson is perfect for your girl. Later, when she is about 10 years old, she can start taking private lesson. It is more fun for both you and the kid.

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Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways
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LX series: volume difference
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Ravenscroft 275 Latency
by jamiecw. 04/25/19 05:11 AM
Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP?
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Pianos Had a Workout Saturday
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