VIDEO: Plymouth pianist Lavinia aged just two-and-a-half
LITTLE Lavinia Ramirez is quite possibly our youngest piano star – at just two-and-a-half she's already played to more than 100 people.
Lavinia, from Ivybridge, had only been learning to master the keys for six weeks when she stepped out to perform in front of an audience during Plymouth Piano School's end of term concert.
She pulled off a sparkling rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb, and teacher Matej Lehocky said: "Remarkable for her age."
He added: "Usually children that young are not able to control themselves and do what they are told.
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"And they don't have the understanding. It takes a certain amount of intellect, being able to listen to what comes out of the piano normally doesn't come early.
"Normally they just run down the keys and get bored.
"To (play) at just over two years old is something extraordinary, so unheard off, so special."
Mr Lehocky, an acclaimed concert pianist who attended the prestigious Prague Conservatory of Music, started to learn when he was four, and said that is a more usual age for would-be maestros to begin.
He admitted he was reluctant to teach Lavinia at first, when he heard how old she was. But his fears were soon dispelled.
"She is so unusual," he said. I'd be surprised to find a child this good in the UK."
And what is also surprising is that Lavinia doesn't come from a musical family. Neither of her parents plays an instrument and mum Jenna Ramirez said: "I'd love to be able to play. I don't know where Lavinia gets her brains from – she's more intelligent than me.
"She told me what a trapezium was the other day. I didn't know."
Mrs Ramirez said Lavinia, who has a nine-month-old sister Florelle, was turning out to be extremely bright and added: "Before she was two she could write numbers and letters."
And the tot loves music too – especially classical.
"Her favourite is Carmen's Suite by Georges Bizet," she said. "She dances round to it. The piano was her idea, she wanted to learn.
"She got a piano for Christmas, a little toy one, and was on it all the time. We asked her if she wanted to learn and she said she would.
"We found Matej through The Herald. He said it would be difficult because of her age but he met her and he's really good with her and she likes him. She had eight lessons before her first concert. We are really proud."
But Mrs Ramirez said she is not going to force Lavinia to play, adding: "She practises as and when, but she goes on the piano a few times during the day. We have got her a bigger piano now.
"She'll carry on but we won't push her."
Lavinia was among 21 of Mr Lehocky's students playing at the concert, at Derriford Church Hall.
Most of them were aged about 10 years old, but students range in age from Lavinia up to their 50s.
The school, based in Upland Drive, Derriford, only opened last September but it already has 57 students.
Many of those performing at the concert were using it to prepare for music exams they are sitting this summer.
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