Summer Piano Festival (Ages 8-18)

Offered online in Summer 2020. Our popular five-day summer program for pianists is going online this year! Participants will enjoy daily ensemble coaching, music & movement warm-ups, improvisation class, music theory class, special topic workshops, a virtual field trip, a virtual tie-dye party, and a final concert watch party. Join us from anywhere—distance is no obstacle this summer!

Limited space still available! Contact Program Director Heather Bissell right away to request a Zoom audition.


Summer Piano Festival:

"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
  • Optional master classes two afternoons per week
  • Sound engineering and synthesizer workshops
  • Virtual field trip to Q Division recording studio in Somerville
  • Ensemble 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
  • Pre-recorded "watch party" performance for family and friends at the end of the program!

Dates:  July 13 - 17, 2020 (Monday - Friday)
              with final concert "watch party" on Saturday, July 25

Piano Ensemble:  9 AM - 12 PM daily
Well-Rounded Pianist:  9 AM - 2 PM (with lunch break) +
Optional Master Class Track: Tuesday & Thursday, 4 -5 PM
With virtual field trip and tie-dye party TBD

Program Director: Heather Bissell

Instructors: Heather Bissell, Kaeza Fearn, Jorge Ibanez, Scott Janovitz, Liang Liang, Barbara Lieurance, Asako Shibata, Rieko Tanaka, and Sarah Tocco.

Course Descriptions:

  • Piano Ensemble (Ages 8-18)  Limited to 16 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)
    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.

  • AUDITIONS:  Contact Program Director Heather Bissell right away to request an audition via Zoom.
  • 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 should be requested right away for placement.
    • For the Well-Rounded section, auditions and enrollment will continue on a rolling basis until the program is filled.

Tuition:  $500 plus $25 materials fee  (Ensemble or Well-Rounded)
                 + $100 additional for optional Master Class Track

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