teacher talking to student before recital
teacher helping student on piano

Join us on February 24 for KeysFest 2024

KeysFest Registration is now closed – Information about KeysFest 2025 will be posted here in December.

KeysFest is an annual learning event for West Michigan piano students grades 1-12. Students perform in a master class setting with an audience of supportive peers and adults, receiving one-on-one instruction from professional pianists and educators. 

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.

In addition to master classes, this one-day event includes elective workshops and the KeysFest Community Concert, which are open to all participating students, families, and teachers. 

Families and students participate in KeysFest each in their own way– some attend only their assigned master class, while others choose to participate in workshops and attend the midday concert. All participants are encouraged to observe other master classes.

Child care is not provided by The Gilmore; all children need adult supervision throughout the day. 

Student Qualifications

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

Student Preparation

  • Students choose one musical selection and prepare it for performance with the help of their teachers. Beginning students may play two pieces, not longer than 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.
  • Students must bring one copy of the music to the event.

Registration and Scheduling

Master classes are scheduled based on age and performance level. Each student will be scheduled for one class. Participants may select their preference for clinician and master class time (morning or afternoon) on the registration form.

A virtual master class option will be made available should there be enough students interested. If you would like to participate in an online-only master class, be sure to let us know when you fill out the registration form.

KeysFest costs $25 per student, payable online after you register. Add-On classes will be extra fees added to your online registration.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available for KeysFest. For more information, please contact Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager, at [email protected]



Our 2024 Clinicians
Andree-Ann Deschenes
Algoma University, Sault Sainte Marie, Canada
Tina Gorter
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Helen Marlais
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Silvia Roederer
Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Tian Tian
Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan
Clinton Velman
New Music School, Chicago, Illinois

KeysFest Community Concert 12:30 pm

Wanderings: An Exploration of New Solo Piano Music with Andree-Ann Deschenes
Dr. Andree-Ann Deschenes will be performing pieces from her latest project, Wanderings, featuring newly commissioned piano works from Jazz and Brazilian composers Cassio Vianna, Jasnam Daya Singh, Bianca Gismonti, Jovino Santos Neto, Kerry Pulitzer, Carmen Sandim, and André Mehmari. This concert is open to the public and free of charge.

KeysFest Community Concert 12:30 pm | Wanderings: An Exploration of New Solo Piano Music with Andree-Ann Deschenes

Special KeysFest Events & Add-On Classes

Harmonize and Create: A Digital Music Production Course
FREE to all participants 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM
Tony Mitchell | Owner Texture House
Are you a budding musician with a passion for creating your own melodies and tunes? Join our 60-minute workshop to learn how to write music, practice, and set up your piano using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
Discover the secrets that make DAWs an essential tool for any musician. We’ll walk you through the core elements that make these digital workstations so powerful, and we’ll introduce you to BandLab, a free, user-friendly web-based DAW that you can start using right after this workshop to bring your musical ideas to life from the comfort of your home.
Whether you have a catchy tune in your head that you’re eager to unleash or you’re looking to elevate your practice sessions, this workshop is tailor-made just for you!

Successful Sight-Reading Workshops with Tina Gorter
Intermediate/Advanced, $10 per person, 10 am
Beginners $10 per person, 2 pm
Sight reading is the ability to play a piece of music that you’re unfamiliar with by reading it from a page of written music. This useful skill is something that anyone can learn and practice. These hands-on workshops help you learn sight reading tactics in a fun, group environment.

Ensemble Master Class with Tina Gorter
$25 per group
Ensembles of any age can be coached together in the new Ensemble Master Class. Piano duets, piano + instrumental or vocal performer, and small chamber groups with piano are all welcome to participate in this collaborative piano master class.
Only one ensemble member needs to select the add-on class to register. Please be ready to list all ensemble members and their contact information on the registration form.

KeysFest is supported by


Questions About Education?

Please direct questions to Adam Schumaker, Director of Education, x125, Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager, x130. For Piano Lab questions, please contact Liz Kelly, Piano Lab Coordinator, x103. Gilmore Office Phone: 269.342.1166.

All content © 2024 Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival