PianoCareerAcademy

Testimonials

  • Joining PCA is one of the BEST decisions I have made in my entire life!

    Simply put, joining PCA is one of the BEST decisions I have made in my entire life! No one had ever taught me how to actually practice before. I've been taught a method that is 100% guaranteed to work. Now I practice smarter - not longer, and actually play music instead of just loud notes.

    I look forward to playing and discovering something new every day and plan to continue learning and playing the rest of my life. Everyone in PCA is professional and supportive, but the soul of PCA is Ilinca Vartic. I am so glad I am a part of this community.

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    Patricia Thompson , USA
  • PCA is unique - it provides 24/7 access to Conservatory-grade piano teaching

    I initially joined PianoCareerAcademy as an "advanced" pianist with 28 years of playing under my belt, being mainly interested in specific instructions on some advanced pieces I was learning at the time.

    Within days of roaming the vast database of tutorials, my whole perspective began to change. It was changed by the clear underlying message present in practically every tutorial: in order to develop great piano technique and a thorough understanding of the art of piano playing, a holistic approach is needed, training all aspects of this art harmoniously in a step-by-step manner.

    Eventually I surrendered and humbly started at the very beginning, with the first lesson of the Course for Beginners. Within a year of following the established curriculum, my playing has been transformed - more stability and security, more confidence and freedom of expression, and most importantly, much more clarity of intention on what I want to express through my playing in the first place.

    Along with that, my way to practice has changed significantly, becoming much more focused, productive and thus enjoyable.

    PCA is unique in that it provides 24/7 access to conservatory-grade piano teaching, according to the professional principles of the Russian Piano School. But beyond that, Ilinca Vartic also provides ample information on how to build a healthy lifestyle to support the lifelong learning. There is advice on health topics, injury prevention, mental aspects, performance psychology, even on workouts and fitness, and the list could go on and on.

    Sustained by an outstandingly friendly and supportive community, I believe PCA offers everything we could possibly need to guide us on our piano journey, to help us bring out the music in our playing and realize our full potential as artists, from beginners to professionals.

    Subscribing to PCA has not only enriched my playing, but my life as well, and I am deeply grateful for the ongoing experience!

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    Holger Stief , Germany , Pianist & Composer
  • Since joining PianoCareerAcademy, my piano playing has been totally transformed!

    Since joining Piano Career Academy, my piano playing has been totally transformed! It's opened up to me a whole new world that I never even knew existed.

    Before I joined, I never felt confident in my playing, but always I felt like I was hiding behind false skills built on a shaky foundation.

    But now, with expert professional guidance that would have been unavailable to me otherwise - I have learned how to build real and reliable skills that allow me to play so much more freely and expressively, and with so much more confidence and enjoyment!

    I have learned HOW to practice, and that has made all the difference in the world. My practice is no longer mindless, mechanical, or boring - instead, it is focused, productive, and enjoyable.

    The Beginner Course is a treasure - the lessons chart a clear path for musical development, and each lesson is enlightening, inspiring, and fun. Gone is the guesswork, confusion, and frustration - now I know exactly what to do to reach my piano goals!

    And the Beginner Course is only the tip of the iceberg - there is such a wealth of in-depth and detailed guidance here. All the written and video tutorials are well-structured, detailed, and professional, as well as being engaging, practical, accessible, and easy to understand.

    The PCA community itself is very friendly and supportive, and Ilinca is unfailingly kind, encouraging, professional, and inspiring. Her wisdom and positivity is evidenced in all her tutorials, as well as her interaction with us as members.

    I am so grateful to have found Piano Career Academy! It has been truly transformative for my piano playing and my life. It has completely changed my perspective on piano playing, it has given me "wings", and it has brought my piano playing skills to a whole new level that I never thought was possible!

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    Amy J. , USA
  • PCA has made a world of difference in my practice!

    My Piano Practice BEFORE Starting Ilinca's PianoCareerAcademy:

    • Lacked definitive direction (could not determine correct path towards my goal of learning the Piano).
    • Sessions tended to become mechanical at times (no attention paid to harmonious sound or deliberate technique).
    • No clear understanding of 'Why' I was doing some things (instructors would swear by certain lessons or techniques but very few explained the reasoning adequately).
    • Confusion (so much information was available [YouTube, books, etc.] that my overzealousness to learn had me doing too much too soon and no clear guidance on when it was okay to move on to the next task).

    My Piano Practice AFTER Following Ilinca's PianoCareerAcademy:

    • Positive Path Forward (PCA contains a tremendous amount of information. Once the overwhelming subsides and one settles down you can clearly see the path that is laid out for you dependent upon what level you're at in your playing.  Not to mention Ilinca and her staff are extremely responsive and leave nothing to guesswork in their responses).
    • Focused, Deliberate, Mindful Practice Sessions (The thoughtful guidance as to 'HOW' to undertake each lesson and 'HOW' to practice really helps focus attention during practice sessions).
    • Clear, In-Depth Rationale for Every Task (Lessons are laid out with exceptionally detailed instructions that allows me to see exactly what the end result of each lesson should produce and helps me understand when it's ok to move forward to the next lesson).
    • Roadmap to Success is Visible (I need to have some idea of what lies ahead when I begin something.  While I suppose it was unrealistic to ask my local Instructors to show me where we were going so I could get a warm-fuzzy about things and be able to self-monitor my progress, I did find that not knowing what the months ahead had in store for me caused me to feel like I was not progressing as needed.  PCA allows me to see exactly what lies ahead and monitor my progress with benchmarks to check off).

    I am so happy that I finally took the plunge and enrolled in PCA!  It has made a world of difference in my practice, my confidence, and my motivation to learn to Play the Piano Properly!!!

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    Henry T. , USA
  • PCA completely changed the course of my piano learning and even my life

    Although I spent many long hours of practicing as a piano performance major in college, I always felt my piano playing was bland and uninspiring.  In the end, I injured my arms.  After graduating, I continued to study under several accomplished teachers with the hope of becoming a better pianist as well as to be a better piano teacher but in vain.  When I almost gave up hope, I discovered Ilinca's piano coaching program that completely changed the course of my piano learning and even my life. 

    Ilinca's piano teachings are based on the Russian Piano School, which was unfamiliar to me at the time.  However, through Ilinca's thorough explanations, I soon came to realize that the Russian school is the place where the true art of the piano is taught.   Ilinca teaches that art is also a science in that you can analyze all aspects of piano playing, and that everything can be taught and mastered with commitment and practice; her presentation is logical, scientific, and ergonomically correct. 

    As a result of Ilinca's dedication to teaching, the information and knowledge in her coaching program has grown substantially since I joined seven years ago.  Her responses to member questions are thorough, detailed and precise; she never compromises in providing the best possible information with great conscience.  Since all the teaching is done by video and/or written tutorial, everything is presented in great detail.   The benefit of this on-line education is the ability to read or watch again and learn at one's own pace.

    Having suffered physical pain from incorrect playing, Ilinca's teachings have become my passion and mission to pass down to my own piano students.  She introduced me to Irina Gorin, a piano teacher who also studied in the Russian piano school and wrote a book called "Tales of a Musical Journey" for young beginners that assists in teaching the correct method of playing.  I have translated this book into Japanese and have done many introductory seminars to Japanese teachers thanks to Ilinca's coaching program.  Now this teaching method is spreading through Japan. 

    This on-line coaching program is perfect not only for pianists who wish to further develop their piano playing technique and to further their personal knowledge to the art, but also perfect for anyone:  beginners to teachers to professional pianists!

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    Yuko Agata Farman , Japan , piano teacher and translator
  • Ilinca's teaching style is warm, exciting, and fabulous for beginner and advanced students alike

    As a piano instructor and performer, I'm so grateful to be able to continue honing my own practice regimen and musical exploration by studying with one of the greatest piano teachers of our time - literally every day if I like!  All from the comfort of my own home via the internet and my tablet.  

    Ilinca leaves no stone unturned in your piano / musical journey and you can go at your own pace while she shares practice recommendations and inspirations to keep you going and keep you committed to your study. 

    I've tried other sites, but here you have the entirety of what you need, from the downloadable-as-you-go sheet music (all the music you need is included in your membership!), to the step-by-step video tutorials covering every piece in the Russian School of Piano Playing.  

    And Ilinca's teaching style is warm, exciting, and fabulous for beginner and advanced students alike.  She is a true role model of every aspect of this beautiful art form.  She has tweaked and transformed my playing, all online.  I highly recommend learning piano or polishing your skills within the encouraging container Ilinca has created and within this holistic piano coaching experience!  

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    Carla Fleming , USA , Piano Instructor, Performer, & Certified High Performance / Mindset Coach
  • A whole different world of piano playing and pedagogy I'd never known before!

    For the past 155 days I've been starting my piano journey from DAY 1. I discovered that there is a whole different world of piano playing and piano pedagogy I'd never known before in The Russian School of Piano. Thanks to my INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE, I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. teacher Ilinca Vartic at PianoCareerAcademy.com for establishing her immensely in-depth online school.

    If you're serious about becoming a piano student and want a teacher to take you literally every small step along the way, or if you're a piano teacher looking for a new kind of pedagogy for your students' benefit, join PianoCareerAcademy!

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    Nathan Jacobson , South Korea
  • PCA has a system which includes everything

    I feel so lucky to discover your website! Taking your lessons is a big part of my life now. PCA has a system which includes everything: all lessons from the very beginning, scales, sight-reading.

    I can learn at any pace I want, and I don't have to spend time for the lessons plans. I always know what I am going to do tomorrow. Your instructions are very clear and it is so helpful to see your demonstrations from both views.

    Thank you!

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    Mariya Shklyar , USA
  • PCA is far superior to any piano teaching experience I have ever had or could have imagined

    I could be sad about all the years of incorrect playing, but I choose not to be.  Rather, I am so thankful to have found PCA, which is far superior to any piano teaching experience I have ever had or could have imagined.  You all are amazing and so supportive.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful community of piano lovers. 

    I had no idea PCA even existed.  One day, I decided I would like to take piano lessons again after many years, because I could not play some of my favorite pieces correctly. (Now I know all of them.) 

    However I did not want to take lessons from someone I would have to travel to every week at a fixed time, and I thought to myself that it might be nice to try an online teacher if one existed, so I looked online, and voila! I saw your introductory video, Ilinca, and was so impressed that I had to sign up, even though I have, at best, limited computer skills. 

    Not only am I excited about finally learning to play the right way to produce the beautiful music I love, I'm learning more about the computer too! (ha! ha!) 

    I was taught all the incorrect ways and have done all the incorrect things you describe.  I have listened to every piano myth so far, and everyone fits me to a tee.  So I will be patient.  I feel like Danielson (Ralph Macchio) in "The Karate Kid," one of my favorite movies.  Before Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) began to teach Danielson, he made a promise to teach, and Danielson made a promise to learn. 

    Ilinca and Yuko, you are fulfilling your promise, and I am determined to fulfill mine.  Thanks again for being my teachers!

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    Stephanie Stevenson, MD , USA
  • Every lesson teaches us how to express ourselves (and the music) with freedom, ease and joy

    I have been a member of the PCA site for several years as an adult beginner. I have found each lesson to be considered, thoughtful, expert, detailed, comprehensive, interesting, inspiring, highly professional, and deeply engaging for my piano journey. There is nowhere else I can expect to find such a breadth of knowledge, covering physiology, technique, artistry, musical history, musicality, psychology, performance, practice and much more.

    Ilinca always prepares her lessons and presentations thoroughly, and her teaching presence and style is authentic, caring, inspiring, and extremely knowledgeable. Her knowledge is not just theoretical but practical, doable, and the step-by-step curriculum is clear, attainable and thoroughly musical and enjoyable every step of the way.

    The Nikolaev books in the Beginner's Course take us through a wide variety of musical techniques and styles, augmented by equally charming and interesting additional pieces. Each piece we learn is considered for its technical and musical contribution to our learning journey. It makes sense every step of the way!

    Above all, Ilinca treats all of us students with genuine care, and every lesson and communication is teaching us not only how to play piano, but how to play MUSIC on the piano, how to express ourselves and music with freedom, ease and joy.

    The PCA site itself is friendly, clear, navigable, and incredibly resource rich - I cannot recommend it highly enough. The support staff are equally responsive and knowledgeable about the site, its functions, and technology.

    Thank you all for your amazing efforts! I happily look forward to many more years of my piano playing journey here at PCA.

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    Tineke B. , Australia
  • I could go on for hours in gratitude for all PCA has done for me!

    Piano Career Academy has been like a family to me since I joined in 2015. I joined after watching Ilinca play on Youtube, wanting to capture and reproduce those mesmerisingly beautiful sounds coupled with rhythmic precision and tonal control that made my jaw drop. The information on PCA is virtually inexhaustible, the tutorials painstakingly made with incredible attention to detail, with every possible issue a learner might have carefully dealt with with such intellectual and scientific rigour, while having the utmost respect for the beauty of the art of piano playing, somehow striking the perfect balance between the non-overlapping magisteria. Every effort is made to ensure the learner is given all the guidance and advice necessary to satisfy their wishes, as well as extra guidance for unforeseeable difficulties.

    I have personally benefitted immensely from my time here, with “wow” coming from friends and family, and from teachers keen to know where my control comes from. Given the high standard of teaching at PCA I was able to pass my ABRSM grade 8 with ease, having completed my grade 5 decades ago never having progressed any further until coming here.

    The need to go back to first principles using the Russian School of piano playing was essential to learn whole-arm action, the necessity of maintaining the integrity of the structure of the hand dome, as well as breathing and the incorporation of flowing hand gestures, the creation of a deep beautiful singing tone, as well as an endless array of other fundamentals, all of which are explained so expertly with countless metaphors and analogies to aid in the learning process. I could go on for hours in gratitude for all PCA has done for me, but will end by saying the tuition and the beauty of the music I have experienced here has a permanent imprint on me, and I’m eternally grateful.


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    Dr. Hugo Dominic Lamb , United Kingdom
  • What a treasure I have found!

    Dear Ilinca,
    What a treasure I have found! Everyday, I am drawn to the tutorials. No matter how late I get in from school, I go to bed watching a tutorial and I wake up with the lesson in my mind! That is an awesome experience! Today as I was watching the segment on "Why we need to practice scales", I know that my life will change because of you. Although I have a private teacher in college, my growth is taking place here with you. I just want to say thank you for following your heart to launch this massive project. It is like watering a thirsty plant that is struggling to live! That plant is me. I am hungry for this knowledge. Having a highly experienced and extremely patient professional like you, I vow to apply myself in order to grow musically and as a person.


    You have opened up my world!!

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    Marilyn G. , USA
  • PCA was a revelation for me!

    I started to learn the piano many years ago, but after a bad experience with a piano teacher I gave up formal lessons and just taught myself. It was enjoyable but as one musician once suggested to me "if you haven't got much time to practise to improve then all your work goes into keeping whatever it is you've got."


    After a busy professional life and family commitments later all I had was what I had achieved much earlier. Then in my retirement, I looked for some guidance from the internet and stumbled across PCA.


    It was a revelation.


    Even without the personal one-to-one tuition, the insights, the corrections of notorious poor habits and above all the encouragement and positivity led me down a path of improvement. I play much more difficult music now and can see how to overcome musical obstacles so much easier. I now expect progress; I understand as never before that it depends on your own careful efforts with correct practice. I love the occasional myth-dispelling discussions we have on PCA too. All this helps.


    As a guide to those who suggest you can't make progress with the piano when you're old, I'm quite old.


    At the age of 76, my playing is improving in spite of deafness in one ear and arthritis in both hands, in one knee and one hip. I now practise Chopin Etudes and Bach Partitas making genuine progress with these famously tricky pieces and all this is entirely down to the wisdom and guidance of Ilinca Vartic at PCA.

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    Dr. Peter Llewellyn , United Kingdom
  • You have filled a void in the piano schooling industry with your holistic approach!

    You have filled a void in the piano schooling industry here in the West with your holistic approach.  There is nothing out there that can compare.   Your wonderful teachings and words of wisdom you offer throughout all of your golden nugget tutorials not only corrected my really dangerous, injury causing technique, and opened my ears to look outside of the box of just the correct notes, but also changed my mindset and my whole frustrating approach and replaced it with a healthy holistic one. 

    You have helped me to manage physical chronic issues that I cannot change.  Something the medical professionals could not offer me solutions for, at least without mind numbing medication. 

    I am so grateful for all the long hours of work you have put into this wonderful program and have gained so much more than just learning the piano.  Thank you.

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    Marianne Hislop , Australia
  • Professional and in-depth piano teaching

    I wish to thank Ilinca and her professional team for all the help they have given me over the last 2 years. Getting a yearly subscription to PianoCareerAcademy school has been one of the best decisions I have ever made: professional and in-depth piano teaching, systematic tutorials, step by step instructions on all lessons by Ilinca herself, scales, sight-reading activities, detailed advice when needed, and the list goes on and on. 

    It is amazing how much depth there is here for every level of piano student from beginners (such as myself) to professional pianists.

    What distinguishes this course is also the fact that it is based on the Russian School of Piano teaching, a methodology that teaches you not only how to play the piano properly but also how to avoid arm and shoulder injuries.

    Thank you Illinca and team for such a great and rewarding experience!

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    Vasilis Karbouris , Australia
  • PCA takes the guesswork out of my piano practice!

    What I love most about PCA is Ilinca’s encouraging teaching. She is always so positive, and her instruction is so clear and motivating. She teaches piano technique in a way that not only protects from injury, but is also a beautiful and joyful way to play.

    As an older beginner, I’ve gotten so much more pleasure out of learning to play the piano through her videos, without the self-consciousness or anxiety I have around playing in front of teachers. I can learn at my own pace and Ilinca’s site offers a structured but flexible way for me to progress in my journey of piano playing.

    She takes all the guess work out of building a strong foundation for progressing my piano playing skills. My ideas of what I want to accomplish have changed immensely as I follow her Course for Beginners. I look forward to being able to play far more beautiful music than I ever thought possible. I’m excited for the years to come to see how far I can go.

    I am so grateful for the PCA site and the wonderful team that runs it!

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    Carol R. , USA
  • Your videos and holistic approach have inspired and taught me so much!

    Hi Ilinca,
    What a  pleasure to learn from your excellent teaching.  Your videos and holistic approach have inspired and taught me so much.  Learning the arm weight and piano attack is new. When I play mindfully, opening my ears, it is possible to hear how  producing a good tone takes focus and effort.  Now, it is a pleasure to play scales I used to avoid. I look forward to progressing through your tutorials with renewed enthusiasm. 


    I have watched  PianoCareerAcademy grow and am delighted to be part of such an amazing momentum. I love the masterclasses.  Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

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    Bonnie S. , Canada
  • I feel a lot of progress - and there's no more pain!

    I’d like to say a word or two to show how pleasant it is to reach this far in your piano training course!


    Over the last 1 year or so I joined PianoCareerAcademy and since then I’ve been following your lessons and your recommendations as much as possible. And I feel a lot of progress! I feel better posture, gestures, key attack, and there’s no more pain in the wrists! I’ve never thought I could do fast piano runs like the ending of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood". You make it easy! Thank you very much!


    The journey doesn't end here! There's a lot to do and I promise I will work hard on it!
    Keep on going!

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    Fabio S. , Brazil
  • I love how thorough and detailed Ilinca makes her lessons and tutorials

    I particularly love how thorough and detailed Ilinca makes her lessons and tutorials.  She simply cannot help but tell us all the necessary details to make a very complete and expressive performance of each piece. I love this aspect of her lessons so much! The tutorials and lessons only get better and better all the time. I love learning from PianoCareerAcademy.com! Excellent, excellent!


    Thank you!!

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    Carol P. , USA
  • My piano playing is already better than it has been in the past 20 years

    You have taught me so much through your teaching. My piano playing is already better and more enjoyable than it has been in the past 20 years. I'm savoring all the tutorials. Thank you for your dedication.

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    Nadine S. , Netherlands
  • You ROCK!!!

    I just want to say thank you again for this program.  Since I've joined, about two weeks ago, I have been at the piano everyday... for at least 3 hours.  This hasn't happened in years!  With each tutorial I view I'm learning so many details that were never taught to me.  No wonder I've been so frustrated at the piano and had given up!  My love for the piano and music is back and I lay in bed at night excited for a new day of practice and learning.  You ROCK!!!

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    Laurie L. , USA
  • My mind is blown!

    My mind is blown, your detailed teaching and full explanation in your lessons are second to none. Your site construction, video lessons and teaching method is as good as it can possibly get, for anyone without a physical teacher being there.....and for a modest cost.
    Thank You!

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    Eric T. , USA
  • Fascinating, splendidly organized!

    Hello, Ilinca,


    I'm just beginning to take my first steps into this fascinating, splendidly organized world that you have and are creating. Judging from what I have found out so far, I feel as excited as a little child discovering a wonderful 'toy'... which is not surprising because we share the same enthusiasm and love for MUSIC and the PIANO.


    I just want to thank you for this opportunity to join in an exciting experience!

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    Juan D. , Argentina
  • PCA has helped me tremendously to overcome my difficulties

    Ilinca, your teaching is so unique, easy to understand and implement even with very difficult topics.  I think I learn more from you than from school...  You and PCA have already helped me tremendously to overcome my difficulties, technically and psychologically.   I'm so grateful to find PCA and be a little part of it.

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    Leia G. , Italy
  • I'm so glad that I came across your site!

    I'm so glad that I came across your site. You are absolutely amazing on so many levels: great mind, beautiful soul, your skills, your passion... You're destined to be a teacher.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion with us. 

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    Bettina S. , Australia
  • Your project is worth every dollar!

    Hey! I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve done with your amazing project. This is my second month as a member and I feel overwhelmed (in a good sense) by all the things I am about to discover and learn from you.


    Two months ago I watched your free videos and that alone was enough to make me feel more relaxed, most of the tension in my hands/arms/shoulders/back while playing was gone. Also just with the free videos reference, the sound of my playing improved considerably and I started enjoying practicing piano as I never did.


    That was enough to know that your project is worth every dollar I would have to pay. I bought a piano and decided to start practicing from Book 1 Lesson 1.


    I write this just for the sake of my own satisfaction in letting you know that I find your entire work of huge value to me. Huge enough to wake me up everyday at 5.00 am to practice for 2 hours. And that’s because I have to stop and go to work.


    Thank you!

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    Alejandro C. , Mexico