teacher talking to student before recital
teacher helping student on piano

Join us on February 25 for KeysFest 2023

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, at 


Our 2023 Clinicians

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 Community Concert 12:30 PM
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.

Special KeysFest Events & Add-On Classes

Ensemble Master Class
Tina Gorter | WMU / MSU, DMA candidate
$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. 

Successful Sight-Reading Workshops
Tina Gorter | WMU / MSU, DMA candidate
Beginners – $10 per person
Intermediate / Advanced – $10 per person

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. 



Questions About Education?

Please direct questions to Adam Schumaker, Director of Education, x125, Leslie Baron, Education and Community Engagement Manager, x130. For Piano Lab specific questions, please contact Nicole Buchino-Bell, x103. Gilmore Office Phone: 269.342.1166.

All content © 2022 Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival