This is a very important subject and it applies to all instruments and musicians. Creating and maintaining a meaningful and interesting body of work as a musician is something we all aspire to. This article will provide some tips so that you can build a repertoire that is both unique and personally fulfilling.
When students begin studying music and get a new book they are so excited. As time goes on and you present more books to them they are surprised when you begin to skip over pieces in the book. Students would often ask me why they simply wouldn’t learn all the lessons or pieces in order.
The truth is, once you progress to a certain level you need to be concerned with adding variety to your music; helping you showcase your skills better and develop a diverse set up musical skills. Covering a wide range of styles – even at earlier stages in your musical development will help you become a better and more well-rounded musician.
Once you get to a certain level in your development you must begin to focus on different styles of music or else you won’t advance as a well rounded musician. That’s why selecting pieces from the Baroque, Romantic, Classical and other musical eras will allow you to learn different techniques as well as diversify your music. Each one of these eras is distinguished by unique styles and sounds and learning the differences will help you progress further as a musician while making your studies more enjoyable.
It’s also important to build your repertoire based on the time it’s going to take you to learn different works. For example, you might be able to learn a Chopin Nocturne in just a week or two. But it could take you months to learn and master a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody or other extended work. Each one of these will not only expand your repertoire, but they will challenge you in unique ways. If you only focus on pieces that will take you a short amount of time to learn, you may not progress as quickly. By challenging yourself with harder pieces that may take months to learn, you can gain valuable skills and techniques which will raise the overall level of your playing even if these pieces don’t become a part of your active repertoire immediately. So, if you were learning a Bach fugue, this can be extremely difficult to memorize. A piece like this could exhaust you mentally if you only focused on this and nothing else for your practice time. Instead, you could be learning a Mozart Sonata or a Chopin Mazurka concurrently and you could expand your repertoire and work more effectively by giving yourself a mental break.
Over time you will begin to learn where your strengths and weaknesses are. You will discover where you need to focus your attention developing your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses.
So here are key points to remember in developing your repertoire:
– Choose pieces that offer a variety of stylistic periods.
– Study pieces with a variety of length.
– Study pieces with different levels of difficulty.
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