She had her hands full anyway, getting to know those 88 piano keys on the front end, so she could dive ever deeper into the classical music canon.
She earned an undergraduate degree in piano performance at Oberlin College's Conservatory of Music in Ohio, got a master's in piano performance from Marshall University and a doctorate in piano literature and pedagogy -- the art of teaching piano -- from Indiana University.
She also has what she dubs an "almost-master's" in music theory from the University of Texas. "I did everything except write my thesis -- and then I got pregnant," she said.
Life, in other words, as it tends to do with the creative life, got in the way. She returned to Charleston from 1975 to 1987, when her students included Garner and Magnuson, who would go on to noteworthy careers as performers.
"Jennifer Garner was my student and my kids' baby sitter. Jennifer would come over and after school she would keep the kids in the basement while I was teaching upstairs. They'd make plays -- all kinds of actress kind of things. She was in junior high. It might have been her first baby-sitting job."
Taylor left Charleston again in 1987 in search of new opportunities. She is a founding member of the Ensemble Radieuse, which has performed on three continents. For a dozen years up until recently she taught piano and piano pedagogy at Converse College in Spartanburg. S.C. A round of budget cuts left her without a job in 2010 as her life was unexpectedly, quite shockingly, up in the air.
This past November, she moved back to the town where she'd first laid hands on keys -- and no whining, please.
"We don't want to write a pity party, honey. I decided pretty much immediately to move back home because I have a 92-year-old aunt who has nobody but me to take care of her."
She brought back with her the 9-foot-long Steinway that dwarfs her front room, where her cadre of about 20 students take lessons.
"I've taken it all over the country with me. I bought it from Gorby's. Steinway retires their concert grands about once every seven years and gives whoever's in charge of them the opportunity to sell it. I bought it after my mother died, with her inheritance."
She also brought with her Babette, her friendly golden retriever born on Beethoven's birthday.
"I've always had B-named dogs, All I had to do was research to find one of Beethoven's amours to find one that started with 'B.' So, she became 'Babette,' one of Beethoven's unrequited loves."
Taylor ticks off her favorite and not-so-favorite classical music influences.
"I find Bach to be the most healing. Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Prokofiev. My favorite composer to listen to is Stravinsky. Bartok. I love Arvo Part. I love Piazzolla. You could say my life is 'lisztless' because I really don't like Liszt. You want me to go on and on?"
Taylor, as with any serious performer or teacher, is also a rehearsal addict (when asked via Facebook message to send along some pertinent details for this story, she texted back: "If I can stop practicing for a minute. Ha.")
Since serious piano study is a form of apprenticeship and mentorship, she also beams a post-interview text to please list the lineage of teachers who honed her skill in Charleston and beyond: Beaulah Duffield, Mary Delle Thomas, John Perry, Alfonso Montecino, Kenneth Marchant and Michel Béroff.
Having been away so long, she is realistic about her low profile as a performer in her hometown, especially given how high-profile she'd been as a teen. So, she sets her own idiosyncratic goals.
"I have a project right now I started last June. It's called the 'Bachasswards Project.' I'm learning all 48 preludes and fugues -- Bach wrote 48."
As she moves toward her goal, she has been posting videos of the performances to YouTube -- just search the project name there.
"At the end of the project, which will take fours years, I'm going to take Social Security as my reward. So that's my goal," she said.
You might also put it another way: that the goal of this former kid prodigy is to keep playing piano, whenever and however she can. View the companion video online with this story at www.wvgazette.com to see and hear her in action. As she sits down to play with cameras rolling, she muses on what the piano means to her.
"When I can't play, it feels like I'm having withdrawal symptoms. When I'm sick or out of town or on a vacation, I come back and its -- oh, God!
"When I need to breathe, I go to my piano. It's my soul."
For more on Taylor, visit www.piano-lessons-charleston-wv.com.Reach Douglas Imbrogno at d...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.