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Samoan Piano Teacher and Students Receive Keyboards


Olataga Tagomau (who is in her eighties) has been the only pianist in her ward (a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for many years. Concerned there wouldn’t be anyone to replace her when she is no longer able to play, she wanted to be able to teach others how to play so they could carry on for her.

With the support of local church leaders and the local community, Olataga started a school to teach others to play the piano. Her original intent was to teach only members of her ward, but there was so much interest from others that the school has expanded to include members of other faiths and the community.


Because of the number of students wanting to learn to play the piano, Olataga could not personally teach them all and so she now has other instructors helping her. Members of the community help by serving as advisors, a manager, secretary, treasurer, librarian and an attendance secretary to track the students’ attendance and practice time. Thus, the Siumu Community Music Program was born.

However, with 49 students and only one keyboard for their use, students’ ability to practice and progress was severely limited. Each student pays only $4.00 WST per month to help with the cost of music, electricity and other costs incidental to her school.


Olataga approached the Welfare Services group of the LDS Church and requested assistance to purchase additional keyboards for her students’ use. Senior welfare services missionaries, Elder and Sister Vellinga, helped her apply for a Harman Music Education Grant. A short time later a grant was received and 20 keyboards along with flash cards, hymnbooks and instructional DVDs are now being used by Olataga’s students.

Now Olataga is happy knowing that someone will be available to replace her when she can no longer play the piano in her ward.

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