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Summer Piano Festival (Ages 8-18)

Summer 2020 Auditions (new dates!):  Online sign-ups for rescheduled audition dates coming soon

Friday, May 1, 7:30–8:30 PM Saturday, May 2, 5:00–7:00 PM Sunday, May 3, 12:00–4:00 PM

Summer 2020 Program:

"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.

  • 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, two levels of improv, and three levels of music theory
  • Coached practice sessions
  • Sound Engineering and Synthesizer classes
  • Field trip to Q Division recording studio in Somerville
  • Special workshop: "Realizing the Power of Music for Social Change"
  • 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 a broad study of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Kovasc, and Feldenkrais.
  • All participants receive a t-shirt commemorating the week-long Festival
  • Performance for family and friends at the end of the program!

Dates: July 13 - 17, 2020 (Monday - Friday)
             with final concert on Friday, July 17 at 4 PM

Monday: 9 AM - 4 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 4 PM (Master Class Track continues to 5 PM)
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM (Field Trip day)
Thursday: 9 AM - 4 PM (Master Class Track continues to 5 PM)
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM (Final Concert 4 - 5 PM)

Program Director: Heather Bissell

Instructors: Vartan Aghababian, Heather Bissell, Renee Dupuis (guest faculty), Kaeza Fearn, Jorge Ibanez, Jinie Kim-Han, Doug Hodgkins (guest faculty), Scott Janovitz, Liang Liang, Barbara Lieurance, Peter Morelli, Asako Shibata, Rieko Tanaka, Sarah Tocco, and Laura Ziegler

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 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 contemporary music and technology, including sound recording and synthesizer workshops.
  • Master Class Track (Ages 10-18) 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 Tuesday and Thursday.

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.

  • AUDITIONS:  Select an audition date at the top of this page and sign up for a time slot online. If you are unavailable on these dates, contact Program Director Heather Bissell to request an audition by appointment (see enrollment deadline below).
  • 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 or Master Class, as of June 1, 2020. Younger students may be considered and accepted at the discretion of the director.
    • For the Ensemble section, auditions and enrollment must be completed by Saturday, May 9.
    • For the Well-Rounded section, auditions and enrollment will continue on a rolling basis until the program is filled.

Tuition:  TBD  (Ensemble or Well-Rounded)
                 + 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 Synthesizer Class
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Piano Discoveries/
Piano Creations
Musical Styles
2:00 PM Festival Show-Choir
3:00 PM Ensemble Practice
Individual Practice
(for Well-Rounded Pianist participants)
4:00 PM Master Classes
(Tuesday and Thursday only)
Master Classes
(Tuesday and Thursday only)