“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 over several decades, 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, we veteran pros regularly pick up fresh music but also practice and perform large amounts of deeply learned compositions, and those long-standing compositions form our core repertoires.
What do pros understand that students don’t?
Here are 6 reasons why building a sizable core repertoire elevates musical artistry and careers.
Six Benefits of Maintaining a Large Core Repertoire
1. Artistic Freedom
By regularly reviewing our long-standing repertoire, we can perform the compositions with minimal effort, freeing us to be expressive and spontaneous in myriad ways.
2. Musical & Technical 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 musical and technical fluency.
3. Work Capacity
With many titles stage-ready, we attract more engagements and can handle busy concert and gig schedules without exceeding our work capacity.
4. Professional Identity
The music we become known for performing – i.e., our core repertoire – communicates our identities as musicians. By assembling distinctive repertoires, we differentiate ourselves as artists and can attract more bookings.
5. Collaborative Flexibility
As we amass large repertoires across several styles, we acquire the flexibility to partner with diverse musicians, thereby expanding our musicality, connections, and appearances.
6. Work-Life Balance
Titles in our core repertoire require 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