January 2022 Update: Due to the surge of Omicron, all in-person students and visitors (ages 2+) must wear a surgical mask at minimum, and ideally a N95/KN95 mask. Please visit our COVID-19 page for more details.

Summer Piano Festival (Ages 8-18)

"This was the funnest camp ever and I loved it here!" - Piano Festival participant, age 10
"It was very organized and there were fun workshops ... I can now analyze a Bach Chorale!" - Piano Festival participant, age 11
"I understand the music I play much more now. The theory and improv taught me to look at my music in an analyzing way. It's a great program." - Piano Festival participant, age 14

Open to pianists ages 8-18. Join us for five days of activities designed to bring pianists together in a fun, interactive program. Program capacity will be reduced this year to ensure safety and social distancing. Read more here about our summer health protocols.

  • Open to any pianist (you do not need to study at WCMS to participate)
  • Make new friends and share music together
  • Build musicianship skills that go far beyond what is taught in your weekly piano lesson
  • Classes in musical style, improvisation, and music theory
  • Optional master classes two afternoons per week
  • Coaching in full body relaxation techniques and strengthening exercises to improve posture and sound production (includes Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Kovasc, and Feldenkrais methods)
  • Special workshop with Barbara Lieurance—"Prepared Piano"—featuring rarely-played music by 20th-century composers that require the performer to add everyday items to the piano to create special effects
  • Lunchtime session on "Art & Music"
  • Final concert for family and friends at the end of the program!

Dates:  Monday, July 12 - Friday, July 16, 2021  (Monday - Friday)
              with final concert on Friday, July 16 at 4:30 PM

Piano Ensemble:  9:00 AM–3:00 PM daily (with lunch break)
Well-Rounded Pianist:  11:00 AM–4:00 PM (with lunch break)
Optional Master Class Track: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00–4:00 PM for Piano Ensemble participants and 4:00–5:00 PM for Well-Rounded Pianist participants

Program Director: Heather Bissell

Instructors: Heather Bissell, Jonathan Fagan, Kaeza Fearn, John Kramer, Yun Lee, Liang Liang, Barbara Lieurance, Asako Shibata, Rieko Tanaka, Sarah Tocco, and Laura Ziegler.

Course Descriptions:

  • Piano Ensemble (Ages 8-18)  Limited to 20 participants
    4-hands, 6-hands, the more the merrier! This course is geared toward later beginners and intermediate students and provides an opportunity for duet playing, ensembles, a "hands-on" music theory class, and two levels of improvisation.
    • Music Discoveries:  Using imagination to explore the instrument in terms of rhythm and sound in order to create a story using music.
    • Piano Creations:  Taking exploration at the piano a bit further, to include variation, musical form, and compositions. 
  • The Well-Rounded Pianist (Ages 10-18)  Limited to 8 participants
    This course is designed for intermediate to advanced pianists and provides classes in musical style, the history of the piano/piano mechanics, improvisation, and music theory. This year, students will focus on 20th century music.
  • Master Class Track (Ages 8-18)  Limited to 12 participants
    This is an optional track for Well-Rounded Pianists or for advanced Piano Ensemble participants. (Audition/interview and discretion of the Program Director are required.) The Master Class track offers two performance master classes in which participants will work on one or two solo pieces, including one for performance at the final concert. This component of the program meets at 3:00–4:00 PM for Piano Ensemble participants and 4:00–5:00 PM for Well-Rounded Pianist participants.

To participate: All participants must audition with the Program Director and then complete the  registration process upon acceptance to the program.

  • AUDITIONS:  Students should prepare a piece to play in order to assess their level and to assign music. The audition will also include a short music theory and sight-reading assessment.
    • For the Piano Ensemble program, auditions and registration must be completed by May 22.
    • For the Well-Rounded program, auditions and enrollment will continue on a rolling basis until the program is filled.
  • REGISTRATION: Once the audition process has been completed and you have been notified of acceptance into the program, our registrar will contact you to complete the enrollment process. Participants must be age 8-18 for Piano Ensemble or age 10-18 for Well-Rounded Pianist as of June 1, 2021. Younger students may be considered and accepted at the discretion of the director.

Tuition:  Piano Ensemble:  $700 plus $25 materials fee (6 hours/day)
Well-Rounded Pianist:  $600 plus $25 materials fee (5 hours/day)
                + $125 additional for optional Master Class Track

Students who require extra lessons to help learn their music will be charged regular summer tuition rates.

COVID Contingency:  We ask that all participants and faculty continue to practice good public health measures outside of WCMS to help us continue providing safe in-person instruction. In the event of a positive COVID test result among participants or faculty during a summer program, the program will move online for the remainder of the session. In the event that any participant has to quarantine due to a positive COVID test result or exposure within two weeks before the start of the program, that student will not be able to participate in the program. In this instance, a refund or credit may be granted if medical documentation is sent to the WCMS office. Learn more about our COVID-19 protocols, our summer health protocols, and our enrollment policies.