“When you step on stage, your awareness of your material will anchor your control and set your creativity free.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 37
Having coached countless aspiring musicians, I’ve found that many commit an avoidable misstep that profoundly limits their development.
That is, they don’t maintain sizable repertoires of pieces that they can perform with relative ease.
Instead, after learning new titles, they set them aside and move on to other music.
By comparison, veteran pros practice fresh music but also keep up large amounts of deeply learned compositions, and those compositions form their core repertoires.
What do pros understand that students don’t?
Here are 6 reasons why building a core repertoire elevates musical artistry and careers.
The Importance of Core Repertoire
1. Artistic Freedom. By regularly reviewing our long-standing repertoire, we can perform the music with minimal effort, freeing us to be fully expressive and spontaneous.
2. Musical Development. Practicing and performing compositions over long periods of time leads to profound mastery, provided that we practice deeply, and that mastery enables us to reach pinnacles of fluency.
3. Work Capacity. With many titles stage-ready, we attract more engagements and can handle busy concert and gig schedules.
4. Professional Identity. The music we become known for performing – i.e., our core repertoire – communicates our identities as musicians, and by assembling distinctive repertoires, we differentiate ourselves as artists.
5. Collaborative Flexibility. As we amass large repertoires, we can partner with diverse musicians, expanding our musicality, connections, and appearances.
6. Work-Life Balance. Core repertoire requires little practice time to prepare for performances, which helps us attain the work-life balance that underpins career sustainability.
See The Musician’s Way for inclusive guidelines to choose, master, and maintain a far-reaching repertoire.
© 2016 Gerald Klickstein
Image © Nejron Photo, licensed from Shutterstock