Summer Piano Festival (Ages 8-18)

"This was the funnest camp ever and I loved it here!" - 2015 participant, age 10
"It was very organized and there were fun workshops ... I can now analyze a Bach Chorale!" - 2015 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." - 2015 participant, age 14

Save the Date!  2019 Summer Piano Festival: July 8-12, 2019
Auditions: April 5, 7:30-8:30; April 6: 5-7 PM; April 7: 9-12 noon

Open to pianists ages 8-18. Join us for five days of activities designed to bring pianists together in a fun, interactive program.

  • Open to any pianist (you do not need to study at WCMS to participate)
  • Make new friends, share music together
  • Build musicianship skills that go far beyond what is taught in your weekly piano lesson
  • Classes in musical style, two levels of improv, and three levels of music theory
  • Coached practice sessions
  • Special workshops: "Intro to Harpsichord" and "Tech Tools for Practicing"
  • New this year: Field trip to the Frederick Historic Piano Collection in Ashburnham, MA
  • All Festival participants receive coaching in full body relaxation techniques and strengthening exercises to improve posture and sound production at the piano. This will include the best combination of exercises derived from Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, and Dalcroze eurhythmics. In addition, students learn how to plan a balanced practice session and explore the three basic types of touch at the piano.
  • All participants receive a t-shirt commemorating the week-long Festival
  • Performance for family and friends at the end of the program!

Dates: July 9 - 13, 2018 (Monday - Friday)
             with final concert on Friday, July 13 at 4:00 PM

Times: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM daily
With extension to 4:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Master Class Track

Program Director: Heather Bissell

Instructors: Vartan Aghababian, Heather Bissell, Kaeza Fearn, Jorge Ibanez, Yun LeeRieko Tanaka, Sarah ToccoElyse Wilson,  Laura Ziegler, and special guest faculty member Andrus Madsen

Course Descriptions:

  • Piano Ensemble (Ages 8-18)  Limited to 24 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 11-18) 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, applied keyboard techniques, improvisation, and music theory. A piano ensemble class provides a fun and interactive way to apply music theory skills such as harmonization and ear training as well as introduction to score reading.
  • Master Class Track (Ages 11-18) Limited to 8 participants
    This is an optional track for the Well-Rounded Pianist or more advanced Piano Ensemble participants. (Audition/interview and discretion of the Program Director are required.) It offers two performance master classes in which participants will prepare one or two solo pieces for performance on the final concert. This component of the program meets from 4:00 to 5:00 pm on two days TBD.

To participate: All participants (Piano Ensemble or Well-Rounded) should prepare a piece to play for the Program Director to assess each student's level and to assign music. There are 24 spaces in the Piano Ensemble program and 8 spaces in the Well-Rounded program. Students who have participated in Piano Festival in past years may register prior to their scheduled audition date.

  • AUDITIONS: If you missed the scheduled audition dates in April, please contact Program Director Heather Bissell to request an audition by appoointment.
    • For the Ensemble section, auditions and enrollment must be completed by Saturday, May 5.
    • For the Well-Rounded section, auditions will continue on a rolling basis until the program is filled.
  •   Once the audition process has been completed and you have been notified of acceptance into the program, we encourage you to register immediately to save your spot. Students who have participated in Piano Festival in past years may register prior to their scheduled audition date. For Piano Ensemble, the deadline to enroll is Saturday, May 5. For Well-Rounded Pianist, students are accepted on a rolling basis as space permits. Participants must be age 9-18 for Piano Ensemble, or age 11-18 for Well-Rounded or Master Class, as of June 1, 2018. Younger students may be considered and accepted at the discretion of the director.

Tuition:  $675 (Ensemble or Well-Rounded)
                 $125 additional for optional Master Class Track

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

Time Ensemble
9:00 AM Group Warm-up
9:45 AM Ensemble Coaching Music Theory
10:15 AM Snack Break
10:30 AM      Music Theory                          Workshops                    Music Theory (cont.)
11:15 AM Ensemble Coaching Individual Practice
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Piano Discoveries/
Piano Creations
Musical Styles
2:00 PM Festival Choir
3:00 PM Ensemble Practice
Introduction to Harpsichord 
(for Well-Rounded Pianist participants)
New this year!
4:00 PM Master Classes
(Tuesday and Thursday only)
Master Classes
(Tuesday and Thursday only)