teacher talking to student before recital
teacher helping student on piano

Register for KeysFest 2024 starting in Decemeber!

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, as well.

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. 

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 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.
  • 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

If you have questions about financial assistance, please contact Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager (contact information below.)



Our 2023 Clinicians
Check back in December for the 2024 clinician lineup.

Johan Botes
Marshall University
Tina Gorter – Ensemble Master Classes
Western Michigan University
Kara Huber
Interlochen Academy
Byeol Kim
Chicago, IL
Molly Sanford
University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (DMA student)

KeysFest 2023 Community Concert
Molly Sanford | Beyond the Classics: Music by Female Composers

Molly Sanford is currently a DMA student at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and a former Gilmore Education Fellow, Gilmore Festival Fellow, and WMU graduate. She is returning to Kalamazoo to share a special recital featuring repertoire exclusively by women composers. Join Molly to hear music by Florence Price, Judith Lang Zimont, Clara Schumann, and more.

Watch the livestream on YouTube.

Special KeysFest Events & Add-On Classes
Check back in December for more information about KeysFest 2024

KeysFest is supported by

Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation
Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation
Irving S. Gilmore Foundation
James C. McGuire
Marvin and Rosalie Okun Foundation
Michigan Arts and Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts
Suzanne U. D. Parish Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation



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 © 2023 Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival