A Fun Change to Keyboard Festival this Year!

Events and Recitals

IMG_4643Every year I have a keyboard festival in my studio. Keyboard festival is similar to Clavinova festival if you are familiar with those. Matter of fact, the reason I started keyboard festival was because of the Clavinova festival experience I had years ago! I thought it was fun and was looking forward in having my students participate in this yearly event with my students, but then the store in my area that hosted Clavinova festival closed. And so did the opportunity of participating. So when that happened I decided to host my own festival and called it keyboard festival, where students played on the digital piano or Clavinova (I didn’t have a Clavinova until last year) with background accompaniments.

This year, I decided to use the Piano Maestro app as our tool for the background tracks. All but one of my students (he made his own backing track), played their piece on Piano Maestro. Before students performed I gave a little tutorial about Piano Maestro and all the cool features it has. My wish is all my students eventually would have access to the app at home.

I thought I would share what I did to help make things go quick and smooth.

First, I didn’t want students to log into their individual Piano Maestro accounts to find their pieces because I wanted loading time to be at a minimum. So with a different email, I set my studio up as a “student” and connected to me as the teacher. I then plugged all the students pieces into the Home Challenges. So when it was a students turn to play, it was already opened to “Foxx Piano Studio” and they just chose their piece from the pieces that were in home challenges. It made it super quick and easy!

Again, to keep things simple yet effective, I took advantage of the Clavinova speakers and hooked a longer, good quality audio cable from the iPad to the Clavinova. This is the audio cable I used. (click picture for link)

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 12.02.28 PMIt worked GREAT!

Not all my students have Piano Maestro to practice with at home, so for those who didn’t, I just made sure they chose a piece that had a hard copy available. (Piano Pronto, SuperSonics, Higgledy Piggledy Jazz, etc…). Then I simply recorded the background music from Piano Maestro to my phone and emailed it to them so they had the accompaniment to practice with. They practiced on the app itself when they came to lessons during their lab time.

I’m sure most of you are aware, but just in case you aren’t… Did you know? Piano Maestro is FREE for teachers and their students! So if you have an iPad and don’t have it, be sure to download it here! JoyTunes also has a great Facebook support page for teachers here.

I always have the families bring goodies to share (I provide drinks and paper goods), but I like to also do a little something so this year I used these music themed ice trays and made chocolate music molds! They were a hit. Yum!


You can find the music themed ice trays on Amazon here.

Feel free to watch the video of our Keyboard Festival below if you are interested.


  1. Michelle Miller

    What a wonderful idea!!! Do you have them come in different groups or how do you schedule it to fit comfortably in your studio? I assume parents are there too? I would love to put this on my list for next year!

    • foxxpianostudio

      Hi Michelle, Yes, I have them come in different groups. I can fit about 35 chairs in my living room after removing all my furniture. The parents are there, matter of fact, I forgot to mention that before we started the performances I gave a little tutorial for Piano Maestro so the families that didn’t have it at home can get excited about it and eventually want it at home too!

  2. lynnkie

    why the clavinova instead of piano??

    • foxxpianostudio

      A few reasons…
      1) It’s keyboard festival
      2) I used the Clavinova as the audio/speaker source for the iPad (big reason)
      3) Didn’t do it this time,, but in previous keyboard festival’s students can play using a different instrument sound.

  3. Mae

    Jennifer – are you still doing a Keyboard Festival? I was thinking a Keyboard Festival, did a google search and, most unsurprisingly, you came up in the results! I wanted to do something like this for 2 reasons – I was looking for another recital event, but more casual and fun, and I want my students to use Piano Maestro more at home. I am toying with doing this at a different venue, as everyone will have just been in my home for our Holiday recital (I am thinking of putting the Keyboard Festival the week before Valentine’s Day – easy theme and it spaces out performances during the year). Have you changed anything about the Festival since you posted this thread in 2015? Do you let your students pick out any song in PM, or do you steer them to particular pieces?

    • Jennifer Foxx

      Hi Mae, yes I do! I do pretty much do it the same way. Though sometimes we have it outside (when the weather cooperates like it did the last 2 years) and sometimes, like this year it is inside. (way to hot this year)

      But yes, we still use Piano Maestro for most of the pieces and for the most part they pick their piece however if I find that pick something way to easy/hard I will steer them a bit. 🙂

      It’s a nice relaxed festival and a lot of fun! Do it, do it! 🙂

      • Mae

        Thank you, Jennifer! I added a Keyboard Festival on my calendar for this coming year! Very excited to offer another performance opportunity that’s relatively easy to put together! As always, I am so thankful to you and your amazing resources!

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