KeysFest Day of Youth Master Classes Features Free Concert by Molly Sanford

February 8, 2023

The Gilmore’s annual day of youth master classes is coming up February 25 at the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo, from 9 am to 6 pm. Piano students from grades 1-12 can sign up by Feb. 10 for only $25. They will take turns performing with other students their own age in front of a small audience of peers and families. Each will receive one-on-one feedback from their clinician and written notes to take home. Student registration is open through February 10. 

As well, workshops in sight reading ($10) and playing with others ($25 per duo or group) can be added at registration. Siblings and family members are welcome at no charge, with adjacent low-cost parking, dining, and shopping available. 

“We have a wonderful group of clinicians and performers, and special extras being offered in sight reading and collaborative piano, which are important skills for students,” says Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager for The Gilmore. “This is a valuable opportunity because master classes are typically a collegiate experience.”

Also on tap is a free concert at 12:30 by Molly Sanford, a DMA student at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and one of the day’s instructors. The concert will be livestreamed via Sanford is a past Gilmore Education Fellow, Gilmore Festival Fellow, and WMU graduate. She will present Beyond the Classics: Music by Female Composers, including selections by Florence Price, Judith Lang Zimont, and Clara Schumann. 

“The idea for this concert came from a desire to showcase music beyond the usual well-known repertoire. I fell in love with several new and unique works before realizing that the pieces I had chosen so far were written by women. I decided to continue the accidental theme and select more pieces by women,” says Sanford, who notes she particularly enjoys teaching young students. 

“Teaching young students is especially meaningful to me because I get to watch them discover music for the first time! One of my favorite moments as a teacher is when a student hears a difference in their playing, or suddenly understands where they can improve musically, and is motivated to work towards a goal. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of their journey and see them grow and develop as musicians,” she says. 

“The masterclass experience combines both a performance and a learning opportunity,” says Sanford. “It’s a chance for students to learn with others of their same age, which can really expand their musical horizons more deeply than private lessons.” 

Other clinicians at KeysFest will be Johan Botes (Marshall University), Tina Gorter (Western Michigan University, Kara Huber (Interlochen Academy), and Steinway Artist Byeol Kim from Chicago, IL. 

Volunteers are always needed for the event, with lunch provided. Please email [email protected] for more information. 

Learn more about KeysFest or register by February 10.

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