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Rina, 5, moves right along in her piano studies (Videos)

Rina takes to piano like a duck in water.

Yesterday, she began her lesson with a five-finger romp through D Major and minor, adding chords to her repertoire.

Did I say “chords?”

It’s every child’s dream to play more than one voice at a time, to fully appreciate the piano as an orchestral instrument.

I know, because at six-years old I longed to hear my two-note melodies bathed in rich sonority.

Mrs. Vinagradov, my weekly duet partner, raised the level of our music-making by several notches, but I had no patience to delay gratification between lessons.

In those days, young piano students were imprisoned in tiny instructional boxes, gasping for any signs of cosmic harmony. They were so fixated on Middle C that to drift elsewhere was anxiety-provoking.

Personally, I was over-burdened with monophonic Diller-Quaille and Diller-Page songs, illustrated with pics of children in high-button shoes beside bicycles built for two. Those archaic pics were re-published for decades beside colorless melodies. They begged for polyphonic enrichment!

Why students were placed in a restricted, No Harmony Zone, was beyond comprehension.

But to the good, it ignited a revolution among teachers who had been closeted rebels.


In our more pedagogically enlightened day and age, a fledgling can reach for the stars, playing more than one note at a time without a meltdown.

As an example, Rina plays a two-voice Minuet and March that produce ear-pleasing harmony. They fuel her enthusiasm from week to week.

Here, she practices her five-finger D Major/d minor warmup which leads to building chords in six voices. What a revelation, like the first sunrise.

Can you believe how far she’s come in less than a year’s time?

Part 2, Rina’s first piano lesson:

Flash forward 11 months:

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