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#1072874 - 05/31/08 04:30 PM Does playing come naturally to you?
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
Well, after three years of lessons and being quite studious about practice I have come to this conclusion; Playing the piano does not come naturally to me. I have to work very hard at it to be just an average player.
Now don't get the impression that I am expecting to much for only three years worth of playing. Although not studiously, I have played (on?, at?) the piano for thirty years. I'll not quit playing the piano but unless I have an epiphany, or start channeling some dead player who just happens to choose me (a bad choice on his/her part) I'll always be average at best. Yes I can fool some into believing that I play well but I can't fool myself.
I'm not complaining!!!!
This is just the way it is.
What I am interested in knowing is; does playing the piano come easily to any of you adult beginners? I mean - do you look at the keyboard and just "see" it or just "hear" it. Do your fingers just "go" to where they are supposed to go?
Yes, practice does make me better but does not make *my* playing perfect.
I do believe that there is in some a fortunate talent. I only wish it were in me.
Keep practicing!

Mike
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#1072875 - 05/31/08 04:50 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Dave123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
I can honestly say it does not come easy for me, everything I have to work at, I am definatly a beginner in the true sense. Nothing else has come close to learning the piano for me previously. Having said that so far I am enjoying the journey and I have to keep in front of me my reasons for wanting to play.
I have watched many play piano on the internet and in real life and the ease what I see people move around the piano amazes me, I keep saying to myself, I am never going to be able to do that. Maybe I should change my thoughts to how am I going to accomplish that.

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#1072876 - 05/31/08 04:55 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
The 'ease' comes naturally to a few. If you haven't got it, you need to look into ways to aquire it. I would start at finding where the tension is.
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#1072877 - 05/31/08 04:59 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
No it does not come naturally to me but neither did walking when I first tried it.

The only thing I can say is the material I work on can make or break my progress. I like using the Celebration Series from Frederick Harris Music. They now call it Celebration Series Perspectives. I think this is very good material and I certainly see progression. I found this on my own (PW) and my teacher had not seen it before and she likes it a lot as well. I have no doubt the material I/we use influences our progress and attitude toward the piano and music in genral.

http://www.frederickharrismusic.com/fhmcUS/Frederick.jsp

If you go onto their web site, click on "piano" on the left side of the page and work your way to the series.
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#1072878 - 05/31/08 05:18 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5658
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
When I took lessons at 15 & 16 the mechanics came easily, as did going from the sheet music to the keys. But there was never any music.

The music still doesn't come easily, and at 62 the mechanics are slowing down, too \:\) As I said in another post, I spend an inordinate amount of time just to be adequate. The difference between now and when I was 15 is that now I know I want music, and I'm willing to spend the time - and love every minute of it - just to be adequate.

I've also found the music I like to play, and I don't spend time on the stuff that I don't like to play. This has helped enormously in the "making music" and not "just pressing keys" department. From the first time I played the accompaniment to fiddlers for dancing it was obvious that even if there had been only my oom-pah people would have wanted to dance to it. *That's* music. And that set of 3 32-bar tunes took me a week to learn. Over the years I've expanded the options for accompaniment, branched into playing melodies in hot/bluesy/honky-tonk ways, gotten better at hearing, a little better at phrasing, and the *music* has never gone away - no matter how I might botch something from a technical standpoint (splashy octaves, anyone? \:D ) the music is still front and center.

So I'm perfectly willing to have put in the time - I need to get back to those 3 hymns I'm playing tomorrow morning pretty soon here - because now it's about music, and the community of musicians and dancers. I'll never be Andy Imbrie, or Peter Barnes, or a Cape Breton backer to Natalie McMaster, or Marsha Ball - dance pianists all -, but I can be adequate enough to make music that makes people want to dance if I'm willing to put in the time - and I am. And I love it.

I've always meant to say hello, Mike. I spent 7 years in Durango, from '82 to '89, as the bookstore manager at Fort Lewis. The group I play with now played our first contra dance in Durango in - 2005? time flies. We've been back a couple of times. Do you know my friend Sylvia the harpist? She's playing a little button accordion with some folks playing gypsy music right now. Maybe the next we come up to play a dance I'll send you a pm and you can come by and say hello. I've always enjoyed your posts.

Cathy
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#1072879 - 05/31/08 06:17 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Naked Shaman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/08
Posts: 96
Loc: Savannah,Ga
Absolutely NOT! I am very much struggling and wonder if I'll ever get this. There seems to be something very fundamental about playing that I am just NOT getting.......

But I refuse to quit........

Naked

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#1072880 - 05/31/08 07:18 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
Rhythm comes to me fairly OK. As for being able to play fast, not only does that not come to me naturally, it has yet to come to me at all!
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#1072881 - 05/31/08 07:26 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
jazzwee Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7111
Loc: So. California
I've progressed quite nicely in close to 4 years now. But I'm really only blessed with good ears. Beyond that, everything was sheer hard work and focus on problems, a few at a time.

There really is something to focusing on a few problem areas, rather than conquering the world at one time. Seems to be an efficient use of time.

I realize that to get to the level of professionals require more work. But I'm plugging away...
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#1072882 - 05/31/08 07:36 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Ah... the ol' "innate talent" vs. "practice" debate. \:D

Mike, if you haven't already, check out Levitin's book "This is your brain on music" and read the chapter on expertise ("What makes a musician?"). He argues, very compellingly imo, that people give "talent" way too much credit and that the key to expertise is focused practice. While I do think there are individual differences in musical ability, I think those individual differences account for far much less variance in performance than does practice.

As for me, I have found that certain things come more easily than others. I had to laugh at Rosanna's post, because she could have been describing me. But there are also times when things will come easy or hard and I can't figure out why, e.g., I'll start two pieces that look and sound similar in terms of difficulty, yet one of them I will rattle off easily and the other will stump me.

I will say that when I get one of those rare occasions where everything falls together quickly, it is a wonderful feeling and I cherish the experience. \:\)
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#1072883 - 05/31/08 07:56 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
I'm a below average player who works really hard. I hope I can play well some day in-spite of my lack of natural talent.

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#1072884 - 05/31/08 08:06 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by jotur:
I've also found the music I like to play, and I don't spend time on the stuff that I don't like to play. This has helped enormously in the "making music" and not "just pressing keys" department. From the first time I played the accompaniment to fiddlers for dancing it was obvious that even if there had been only my oom-pah people would have wanted to dance to it. *That's* music. And that set of 3 32-bar tunes took me a week to learn. Over the years I've expanded the options for accompaniment, branched into playing melodies in hot/bluesy/honky-tonk ways, gotten better at hearing, a little better at phrasing, and the *music* has never gone away - no matter how I might botch something from a technical standpoint (splashy octaves, anyone? \:D ) the music is still front and center.

Cathy [/b]
Beautiful post Cathy.

That's absolutely it for me too. Finding out what kind of music you can really put your heart into makes all the difference. I'd rather play a simple run of 10 notes that come alive, than 100 that just sound like a row of tones, no matter how accurately I'm "pressing keys" as you say, or how much further along it is in the difficulty scale.

Chris
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#1072885 - 05/31/08 08:27 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
billyshears66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/25/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Dracut, MA
When I play guitar, I play songs that come easy to me... if I find it too hard to begin with, I just don't play it. So, most songs I can learn after listening to them a couple times through. The later down the road, those songs I once found hard, just seem to fall into place. I never really practiced, I've alwasys just played. In the past, I could only manage to sit for about 20 minutes at a time with my guitar, alone that is. So I figured I would just join a band and learn on the fly, and it has worked for me... now don't think I'm bragging, I find it a huge issue in the long run. I've never been a strong lead guitar player, I've always been average. The piano, is coming a lot harder... sure, same thing applies... easy songs come easy... but here is where I plan to work for real... I want to play good, not just good enough. So, as time permits, I will sit and work out those hard parts for the sake of the journey. It is a bit of a humbling experenice for me, and I find it is about time for me to have some humble pie.
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#1072886 - 05/31/08 08:35 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Mr.Joshua Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Plano, TX
The Piano - no...hard work every time I try to play. The Bass guitar...totally natural. No hesitation, fingers flying, totalally relaxed. I can pick up almost any song after a couple of times hearing it. But then again, the bass is a much simpler instrument.
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Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.

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#1072887 - 05/31/08 08:56 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4269
Loc: Arizona.
Playing the piano seems very natural to me. This is really the main reason I dont want to be *taught* anything. This way, everything I do and develop in terms of playing style and technique will be my own.

Since this is just a hobby, what have I got to lose by creating a new style?.

Anyway, I truly believe that you are either musically inclined or your not. I view musically inclinded people as the ones who naturally have the funk!, you know, some groove or beat about the way they listen to music. The people who just naturally start singing along with tunes, tapping their feet to the beat as well.

Non musically inclined people CAN perform a tune in any way that they are taught but the deep emotion which can sometimes be inflected into a piece may not be there!. That is something that MUST come from within as it cannot be taught.

You either belive that or you don't.

Someone who can naturally transfer their emotions into a piece can truly perform it, not just play it.

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#1072888 - 05/31/08 09:02 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Do you sit on the bench feeling like you are stiffly at attention.

Let's do a little scenario to set you into motion before you play the keys.

Anticipate that you are a drummer - play on a flat table serface with both hands, just as the rhythm and tempo of your songs ask you to do.

Sitting on a chair, slightly and gradually begin small movements of your torso from side to side like ball room dancing. It doesn't matter that your feel are on the floor keeping you grounded.

It's your hands and your hips that are readying for the "dance". Do you feel your joints moving, you aren't controlling it, you are just doing it as you think about the music you will soon be playing on the keyboard. Maybe your inner humming voice comes in to define the melody.

Getting the idea?

Take your hands to the keyboard and go for it!

You should be completely in spirit with the music.

What a big difference in approach to the piano!

Betty

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#1072889 - 05/31/08 09:46 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
RobM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 112
Loc: Plymouth, Devon, UK
You mean it doesn't happen like this for all of us?? :rolleyes:
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My Videos: http://www.youtube.com/MastahUK

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#1072890 - 05/31/08 09:48 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
doc123454321 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 53
Loc: Central Florida
I'm not an adult (16 years old) but here's my insight :p

I have been an AVID choir member for the past 5 years and have had a somewhat easy time picking things up. This year I started playing piano and taking lessons, and apart from already knowing how to read music have had to work quite hard. My hands do not like to play at the proper time =).

As for Betty Patnude's suggestion of the Drummer Method, making music is not just playing the proper notes at the proper time, following a staccato mark properly, or keeping your hair tidy before/during a performance. Making music is putting yourself and your emotions wholeheartedly into the meaning of the song. A good musician should be able to convey the emotions the song was written for.

Most of all, HAVE FUN
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You've been into music for far too long if you tell somebody to shut up by drawing a fermata over the rest in their music.

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#1072891 - 05/31/08 10:01 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5650
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
I LOVE to play the piano.

I can't walk by a piano without playing it (a problem when I'm in a piano store).
When I play, I become more relaxed. I play with more emotion then technique I'm afraid, but I enjoy it.

Jeffrey Biegel has nothing to worry about with my playing, but I don't care.
I never feel like it's "work", except maybe when I'm trying to play over my head and my fingers can't quite keep up.

Because I was a "rock & roll" keyboard player I tend to play everything a bit fast, but that comes naturally to me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, for the level I play at, it comes naturally to me.

(did that make any sense?)
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#1072892 - 05/31/08 10:07 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
1silkyferret Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 177
Loc: Elsewhere-now Texas
I'll not quit playing the piano but unless I have an epiphany, or start channeling some dead player who just happens to choose me (a bad choice on his/her part) I'll always be average at best. Yes I can fool some into believing that I play well but I can't fool myself.

Can I channel Jef Denyn or Liberace??????????

I'm not complaining!!!!
This is just the way it is.
What I am interested in knowing is; does playing the piano come easily to any of you adult beginners? I mean - do you look at the keyboard and just "see" it or just "hear" it. Do your fingers just "go" to where they are supposed to go?
Yes, practice does make me better but does not make *my* playing perfect.
I do believe that there is in some a fortunate talent. I only wish it were in me.
Keep practicing!

I have to bust my butt just to learn the most basic stuff in the alfreds book 1. As in a week or so for one lousy page.
I was able to memorize stuff in high school for field shows and stuff but now it takes 2 weeks. And I have to memorize at least the top line (treble)in order to play the keyboard. I also have to do the same for carillon so I sort of learned 2 pieces on bells. considering that when I am the road I get no bell time and the piano time is limited to 30 minutes a day and I learn thru ad nauseum repeittion.....



Mike [/QB][/QUOTE]

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#1072893 - 05/31/08 10:29 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stevester:
No it does not come naturally to me but neither did walking when I first tried it.

[/b]
Well I was a late walker..nearly 2, but once I started walking it was no time before I could run... I've been taking piano lessons for 7 years...... After 7 years - at the age of 9, I was amazing at walking... however currently, I'm not quite so amazing at piano playing...
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#1072894 - 05/31/08 10:59 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
TX-Dennis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 4126
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Well I was a late walker..nearly 2, but once I started walking it was no time before I could run... I've been taking piano lessons for 7 years...... After 7 years - at the age of 9, I was amazing at walking... however currently, I'm not quite so amazing at piano playing... [/b]
I love it.

Playing piano does NOT come naturally to me. The only musical pursuit that seems to come naturally to me is singing, and sadly, although I can sing on key and in time and can improvise and "scat," my voice is not particularly pleasant. Would that I could develop the same ease on piano.
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#1072895 - 06/01/08 01:37 AM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
faucon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Missouri USA
I grew up in a house filled with classical music and opera, and it seems to have given me a good ear. My dexterity at the keyboard and my music reading are improving, but I wouldn't say at all that they come easily.

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#1072896 - 06/01/08 01:57 AM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Guys and girls, don't just accept your lack of ease. It is not an insurmountable problem, but neither will it go away without some focus on it. The physical effort should be coming from the pit of your stomach. When you feel that you know you're at ease.
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#1072897 - 06/01/08 12:11 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 801
Loc: Netherlands
I'm a beginner at piano and I don't think it comes naturally.
I'm terribly slow at reading notes and I don't know much about music theory.
I do think I'm a good listener and I got good memory. I don't know if this is anything special, but once I figured out the notes, I can play everything by memory fairly quick. It helps me to focus more on my hands and playing it right.

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#1072898 - 06/01/08 01:07 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Michael Steen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 366
Loc: Sciota, Pennsylvania
Nah, it doesn't come naturally to me either, after nearly 4 years. Granted, I'm a LOT better at some things than I used to be, and pieces (still simple) that I've practiced sound pretty good. But I start each new piece only a tiny teensy bit above where I was with the last one. It's hard work.
However, sometimes I console myself by bringing out my book of simple Christmas carols and playing it right through with pleasure. Learning it, though, was a lot of work.
So, maybe bit by bit, note by note, it's getting easier. But my progress is like the hour hand on the clock. You know it moves, but it's so slow that you can't see it.
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#1072899 - 06/01/08 03:03 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by RobM:
You mean it doesn't happen like this for all of us?? :rolleyes: [/b]
That is exactly what I want! Great link RobM.
Well, seems I'm in good company and that raw natural talent (as in the clip above) is indeed rare.
Now - I am looking very forward to my next lesson tomorrow night.

Cathy, let me know next time you head for Durango. I would love to come see your band.

Mike
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#1072900 - 06/01/08 04:12 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
IrishMak Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/06
Posts: 1614
Loc: New Hampshire, USA
Naturally? Oh, no, not even a little bit. 4 years into this and I suck. There are people here who have been playing less than a year who are far, far better than I am. I have to claw, fight and kick to make the least little bit of progress. It's ok. I'm in this entirely for me, so if I never hit "good," I've not got a problem with it. The dog and cats don't seem to care.
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1889 Mason & Hamlin screwstringer upright
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#1072901 - 06/01/08 05:23 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
With the piano, every new thing is a struggle, not like the blues harp, with which I can sit in with a band and play along with blues, reggae, country, folk tunes like breathing... even solo if I know the tune and find my way back if I get lost...

The piano has so many options, so many notes to co-ordinate. I can spend 30 minutes getting a 2-bar phrase right and need 60 for the next phrase, if it's not months or years away.

And yet, sometimes I'll sit down in front of the keys and something will click, and I'll be relaxed and into the groove, playing something I like the sound of, something that I'd like to hear someone play on the piano, but I'm the one playing it and it's music I love...


...and I'm reminded that it is possible for someone as hopelessly lacking in dexterity as me to make music on this instrument. Maybe not yet really, except for fleeting seconds worth, but sometime: a few years, maybe ten, maybe more.

If I don't quit.
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Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1072902 - 06/01/08 05:43 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
Piano91 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Spain
To me, it comes naturally but very very slowly, mostly because Im very lazy and because I dont know what to learn. Im four months with the piano, and, although all the people says Im doing very well, I know Im not. I know I can do it far better (if I practice more). The best I can play is a The Entertainer first part, I still cant improvise a 12 bar blues \:\(
(its impressive the huge amount of "I" used in english, this is seen for native speakers as egocentric?)
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#1072903 - 06/01/08 06:56 PM Re: Does playing come naturally to you?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
did she come around the mountain?
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love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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Digital piano Actions MP11,RD-800,CP4
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