Do You Dalcroze? – by Terry Boyarsky
I look forward with great delight to the 2022 Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival. The students who participate are some of the most invested, caring, curious, upbeat, thoughtful, motivated young adults I have had the honor to teach. I love being surrounded by the spirit of camaraderie, joy, and collaboration found at RPPF. This holds true for the faculty as well. Rebecca Penneys has assembled a group of the best piano pedagogues who are eager to pass their wisdom and experience.
Most students who come to my Dalcroze Eurhythmics workshops have never heard of this unusual approach to music which simultaneously engages mind, body and feelings. In my RPPF workshops, I see students who risk jumping into the unknown world of Eurhythmics games and exercises. Eurhythmics (“good rhythm”) consists of listening and responding to music with movement, as well as observing oneself in motion. When I think of last summer’s classes I remember how much laughter there was!
Through movement we explore all elements of rhythm (from pulse, meter, phrasing, accents, rhythmic patterns to the advanced topics such as tempo, syncopation, ensemble, cross-rhythms, anacrusis, unequal beats, and agogics). We engage with an exercise, observe, discuss, later analyze then apply – in this order. We actively study how sound implies movement and how to translate movement into music.
In my workshops I always weave in special Solfège games – the study of pitch relationships, supported by a foundation of vibrant rhythm. Improvisation – on and off the keyboard – alone and collaboratively – is an integral part of the training, and acts as a laboratory for synthesizing good rhythm and clear tonal relationships. We learn not only to allow ourselves to make mistakes, but to unpack the information embedded in them.
Our classes are lively, collaborative, inventive, kinesthetic, and philosophical. It is a thrill to develop inner hearing, good timing, awareness, flow – all that can help to use the body and voice in a relaxed, joyful way. We find wide application for our experiences – from the practice room to the stage to life.
I delight in empowering participants to become their best creative, joyful, unique selves. Students who attend RPPF are looking for more than just piano technique, and for 3 glorious weeks, they are supported in a search for their own voice as expressed through the piano. I can’t wait to work and play with our 2022 musicians!