Chicago Tribune

Pianos in the Parks lets everybody tickle the ivories

CHICAGO - "Ya'll ready to jam?"

Outside the Jackson Park field house, children squeeze between an upright piano and its accompanying bench for a chance to unabashedly pound their fingers across the keys and peek into the inner workings of the instrument's opened top, where the pedals and hammers are exposed to the summer day.

"You got your music juices flowing? Do you feel it in your soul?" asks piano teacher Thaddeus Tukes as he attempts to corral the children from Jackson Park's summer camp. Before beginning the lesson, he allows the kids to punch the keys, so they can "let it all out."

By the end of the kids' 10 minutes with Tukes, he says, "Ya'll are piano players now."

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