RPPF Magic — by Rebecca Penneys
RPPF was started because my life took a sudden turn, and as a result, I had an epiphany: Why not start a festival that every pianist, teacher, student, and piano lover, would want to attend? RPPF was an instant success. It has what I love and what everyone loves: tuition-free, no discrimination, nearly a semester’s worth of private lessons, special topic classes, masterclasses, faculty Q&A’s, performance opportunities, alternative approaches, and all this in 3 weeks – leaving a good chunk of the summer free!
The popularity of RPPF validates its intense and unorthodox approach to teaching talented people tuition-free. It also demonstrates that serious and brilliant students need to be mentored by master artists who understand the process. Our selection of students and teachers is carefully curated so that there is a harmonious environment and lessening of the typical stressful competitiveness common in the piano world. Our mentoring style is individual and unscripted; we take a distinctly “mom and pop” approach so that we can help each participant find his/her own voice. Our large and diverse artist faculty offer contrasting approaches to practice and performance. Through lessons, classes, and concerts they offer fresh ideas, suggestions, and practical advice towards successful career building. At RPPF we also concern ourselves with mental, emotional, and physical health, and offer tools for well-being and injury prevention.
My personal take is that RPPF helps change the space within oneself, to find new doors, windows, and paths. Augmenting a typical academic education, it seeks to have everyone experience adventure, catch inspiration and imagination – without grades, competition, negativity, or tuition. At RPPF I see that all our stories matter, that there is magic in music, and that stretching and reaching for more than we have opens new sounds, emotions, and communication.
Our schedule includes daily lessons and nightly masterclasses. Often a student will play the same work for 5 or 6 professors, greatly broadening their range of interpretative possibilities. We also have Special Topic classes based on student requests. We have weekly Q&A forums for students to direct all kinds of questions to guest faculty and receive a broad array of responses. This summer, to celebrate our 10th season, we have a composer on hand who will unveil a short new piece written just for RPPF. We will also create a new work by listening to sounds of nature, a fun project to highlight the importance of keeping our planet healthy. Finally, we offer yoga, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, stress-point learning, a museum trip, dolphin cruise, and beach day for well-being, development, culture, and pleasure.
The magic of RPPF is that we end in bliss – questions answered, problems solved, meaningful friendships made, steps along career pathways taken, treasure-chests of new intelligence and emotion opened, and personal transformation achieved. We all learn from one another, students from teachers, teacher from students, students from students, and teachers from teachers. I have been profoundly moved by observing life-changing events in so many members of the RPPF family.
We are celebrating our 10th season this summer! Whether you are a pianist, teacher, student, or piano lover, we hope you will join us.