Milton Keynes Piano Lessons

Active Repertoire Project

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

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

My article What Can You Play? provides the essential introduction to this project. And I hope that the encouragement offered here will play a small part in helping you fulfil your piano playing ambitions!

Getting Started

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

Active Repertoire Sheet  [PDF]

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 pieces which you really love, and will enjoy playing.

Write the titles of your three pieces on the sheet and commit to:

  1. Play them regularly – if possible, daily. For most players it should only take a few minutes.
  2. See if you can memorise them over time. Unless you have a specific performance deadline, let the memorisation process be as natural and unforced as possible.
  3. 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.

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 Sheet sheet includes spaces for another nine pieces, which you can add as replacements to your original three.

  • Add your new Active Repertoire pieces in the spaces provided.
  • Not every piece learnt should be added – only those that you particularly love.
  • Feel free to also remove pieces whenever you like.

But always keep at least Three Pieces of Active Repertoire that you can play:

  • Without Notice
  • Without Embarrassment
  • and Without Notation

Having Active Repertoire enables us to develop a better balance between working at the piano and actually playing the piano.

Some Tips for Teachers

Encouraging your students to develop their Active Repertoire may lead to some radical changes in your own teaching patterns, and in their learning. I have found that pupils who develop an Active Repertoire:

  • Become more positive learners
  • Are able to better recognise and enjoy their progress
  • Are more confident in lessons
  • Are more willing performers
  • Experience less anxiety
  • Learn to balance working at the piano and actually playing the piano
  • And are more like to stick with their piano journey

To ensure that your students make the most of developing an Active Repertoire:

  • Print off copies of the Active Repertoire Sheet for all your students, and explain how to use it. Note – THEY should choose their Active Repertoire pieces, without your help.
  • Ask pupils to bring their Active Repertoire Sheet to every lesson, and each time pick a piece from the list for them to play at the start of the lesson.
  • Point your students to so that they can explore the site and pick up additional tips and encouragement here.

Active Repertoire: in more detail

For more information, check out these articles as they appear on the site:

Enjoy developing your Active Repertoire!

12 thoughts on “Active Repertoire Project”

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. I find it hard to keep long term track of what students have in their living repertoire list. I have tried adding the pieces to a separate folder, also sticking the list into their current book etc. but none of these actually work long term. I try to make it a special list , because for me it is a really important list because it will be with them for the rest of their lives. How do other teachers work it


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