Milton Keynes Piano Lessons

Active Repertoire Project

The Active Repertoire Project aims to encourage piano players from around the world to develop their own Active Repertoire of three pieces which can be played any time, any place:

  • without notice
  • without embarrassment
  • and without notation.

The Project began following the huge response to my article What Can You Play?  – in which I included this concept from my own teaching practice. Please read that article right away to understand the background of the Active Repertoire project.

It has become clear that there are many around the world who wish they had an Active Repertoire, and hopefully the encouragement offered here will play a small part in helping them to fulfil that ambition.

Getting Started

Please download your free Active Repertoire 2017 sheet here:

Active Repertoire 2017   [PDF]

You are welcome to print off as many copies as you wish for yourself – and any pupils you have.

Following the instructions on the sheet, select the three pieces which you will develop as your initial Active Repertoire. These need to be pieces you can play well today – and if you don’t have three, then your initial project is to address that by learning (or revising previously) learnt pieces which you really love and will enjoy playing.

Once you have your three pieces, write their titles on the sheet and commit to:

  • Play them regularly – if possible, daily. For most players it should only take a few minutes!
  • Try to memorise them over time. Unless you have a specific performance deadline, let the memorisation process be as natural and unforced as possible.
  • Play your Active Repertoire pieces to others when you get the chance, preferably informally at first.

Start Easy and Develop Gradually!

There’s no reason to delay – you can get started today by picking three fairly easy pieces that you can play well, and setting aside a few minutes each day to simply enjoy playing them. Before long you will most likely be able to play them from memory.

If you are working towards a grade exam, performance or competition, chances are that the three pieces you select to be your Active Repertoire will be those that you are preparing with that goal. Otherwise, choose the pieces which you most enjoy playing, and are keen to show to others.

While the Project will fit naturally alongside exam preparation (where there are often three pieces to perform), I have found that having an Active Repertoire can be even more helpful for those not following the exam route – it provides a focus for perfecting a few pieces for performance, rather than simply skim-reading lots of pieces.

I should stress that the Project does not replace any other existing learning programmes you are committed to; – in fact it complements those programmes.

Developing your Active Repertoire

Over the coming months, as you learn new pieces, you will want to refresh your Active Repertoire rather than continuing to play the same three pieces…

The Active Repertoire 2017 sheet includes spaces for another nine pieces, which you can add as replacements to your original three.

  • Simply cross off the pieces that you are replacing, and add the new ones in the spaces provided.
  • Not every piece learnt should be added. Most of my students learn more than nine new pieces in a year, often memorising them.
  • But only the pieces that are personally SPECIAL become Active Repertoire.

Always make sure that you keep the three pieces that you most enjoy!

And why not try composing your own piece to add to your Active Repertoire in the year ahead?

Your target is to learn enough new pieces over the year – and to learn them really well – so that your selection of three pieces going into 2018 will be drawn from the new, alternative Active Repertoire pieces added during this year.

Each year, try to refresh the complete list. This will keep your Active Repertoire fresh, but still familiar. It will continue to evolve.

Your Active Repertoire is at the heart of your piano journey.

A new free sheet for 2018 will be available to download here in the Autumn.

Enjoy developing your Active Repertoire!

8 thoughts on “Active Repertoire Project”

  1. All my students do this anyway. I call them “Great Aunt Agatha pieces “. The idea is that when their GAA comes to tea (don’t be silly; EVERYBODY has a GAA) she will be so overwhelmed by their wonderful ability that when she dies she will leave them her immense fortune. And then they will remember their piano teacher. With 75 students, it’s my foolproof pension scheme!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this idea – so simple. Perhaps the most valuable off-shoot will be the *gentle* facility to develop memorisation. Unless one is fortunately blessed with natural memorisation skills (and I’m not talking about young children here), and especially if you are older and have never memorised, like myself – it is very difficult to start. I have spent many years trying to ‘memorise’ with no real success and I think my big mistake was in trying to memorise major repertoire and not starting small – and so I ended giving up. Perhaps the brain needs to develop slowly here, just like everything else and there is no quick fix, but like anything, if you do something a lot, you get good at it. I am going to start with my own pieces (easy ones!) and build from there. I have memorised one of them for some talks I am giving and am amazed at how much easier it is to play from memory. That’s just for me – but what a gift for my pupils for whom it is much more important . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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