Event Sponsors

Larry and Deb Bauss
Friends of Oliver S. Howell

teacher talking to student before recital
teacher helping student on piano

KeysFest February 19 & 20, 2021

KeysFest is an annual day-long learning event for West Michigan piano students grades 1-12. Students perform in a master class environment with an audience of supportive peers and adults. They receive one-on-one instruction from professional pianists and educators and participate in workshops and performances by KeysFest clinicians and other guest presenters.

Applicants may select their preference for clinician as well as time of master class (morning or afternoon) on the registration form. Classes are then scheduled based on age and performance level. Each student will be scheduled for one master class session, which will range from 30 to 90 minutes. All students should plan to be present for the duration of the class.

Check back in December 2021 for information about KeysFest 2022

Special Thanks to Our 2021 Clinicians

William Chapman Nyaho
Concert Pianist, Seattle, OR

Edward Callahan
Pianist & Music Director, New York, NY

Ching-Yun Hu
Concert Pianist, Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy, PA 

Caroline Oltmanns
Professor of Piano, Youngstown State University, OH

Stephen Pierce
Professor of Piano, USC Thornton School of Music, CA

This year, KeysFest was virtual!

Students attend master classes from their home piano using video and online conferencing. Students will also have the ability to participate in other student sessions as observers, including those in which they are not performing. Students who sign up for KeysFest provided with plenty of support and instructions on how to attend, information about what technology will improve their experience, and an individualized technical check in during the week before KeysFest.

A Day of Master Classes

What is a Master Class? A master class is a public piano lesson with your peers. Students perform a prepared piece before a small audience and receive immediate feedback and instruction from their clinicians. Master classes typically last 30–90 minutes and have an average of 3–6 students per session. Participants stay for the entire class and learn from their fellow performers as well.

In addition to master classes, the day also includes a recital and workshops, which are open to all participating students, families, and teachers. Please note, all KeysFest activities are open to the public.

Student Qualifications

  • All students grades 1–12 who are currently studying piano may register.
  • Students must have the signed permission of their piano teacher.
  • Students must bring one copy of the music to the event.

Student Preparation

  • Students choose one selection, with the help of their teachers, and prepare it for performance. Beginning students may play two pieces, not to exceed 1.5 minutes.
  • Students should be very comfortable performing the piece and starting at various spots in the piece.
  • Piano selections do not need to be memorized; however, they should be well-prepared.

Questions About Education?

Please direct questions to Adam Schumaker, Director of Education, or Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager. Telephone: 269.342.1166.

All content © 2021 Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival