Autumn Repertoire Challenge

The Autumn Repertoire Challenge is ideal for players of all ages, and offers a great starting point for developing and building an Active Repertoire at the piano. Are you up for it?


Getting Started

As we all return from summer holidays and look ahead to the cooler weather and darker evenings, we can feel daunted.

What can we remember about piano playing? Hopefully we have several pieces ready to play, thanks to the Summer Repertoire Challenge, but also there’s a sense of the new, and that in the months ahead it’s time to work on new projects, prepare for concerts and exams later in the season, and leave behind what we’ve played before.

Having new projects is always exciting, but let’s not forget to continue playing our favourite pieces, ensuring that we always have a good answer to the simple question What Can You Play?

And it’s this question which underlines the importance of developing an Active Repertoire…

An Active What?

I have written here before about the need for pianists to take the time to enjoy playing the piano, not just working at it. 

And I am on a mission to enthuse players everywhere to develop an Active Repertoire. The Autumn Repertoire Challenge is rooted in this vision. 

There are two parts to the challenge:

Firstly, the Challenge encourage players to list three pieces that are performance-ready. Throughout the coming season commit to:

1. Play the three pieces regularly – if possible, daily. For most players this should only take a few minutes.

2. Try to memorise them. Allow the memorisation process can be as natural and unforced as possible over the coming months.

3. Play the pieces to others. Perform to family and friends as much as you can this autumn. 

Perhaps this season, with many moving to new schools, colleges and jobs, will bring an opportunity to play to a brand new audience.

Secondly, the Challenge encourages players to learn a selection of brand new pieces over the coming months.

The Autumn Repertoire Sheet includes nine spaces to list a new set of pieces you would like to have a go at learning.

These longer evenings can offer a good opportunity to sit down at the piano and tackle a host of new pieces which can later be honed and polished for performance as required.

Your Autumn Sheet

Use the sheet to hold yourself (and your students) to account:
Making a written list makes it official!

You can download your FREE Autumn Repertoire Challenge Sheet here, and distribute the sheets to other players and students:

pdf-logo   Autumn Repertoire Sheet

What’s Next?

If you are a teacher, think about opportunities for your students to perform their Active Repertoire pieces, and listen to them regularly in lessons.

If you are a player, make sure you keep your Autumn Repertoire Sheet with your piano music and use it to the full.

Challenge yourself and others to develop an Active Repertoire!

More Info: Getting Started Guide


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October Reflection

Autumn is in full swing here in the UK, and the usually green city of Milton Keynes is now presenting itself in astonishing hues of yellow, orange, red and brown.

I’ve just returned from a walk in the woods (the wonderful Linford Wood, shown in my photo above, is just five minutes from my door on foot) with our puppy, Bella Bardóg. The best word I can think of to describe the vivid beauty here today is … invigorating. I’m not much of a photographer, but hopefully the picture captures it.

We sometimes think about Autumn as a season of decay, of decline, in which the weather turns drab, and the nights draw in. And for those of a melancholic disposition, the words seasonal affective disorder loom, an ominous spectre.

But I prefer to see the Autumn as a time of dynamic change and possibility, the old giving way to the new.

Any gardener will tell you that plants sometimes need a good pruning, and the spectacular feast of colour in Linford Wood today serves as a vivid reminder of nature’s inbuilt commitment to change, vitality and new beginnings.

What better time for us – as pianists, as teachers, and simply as people – to reflect on those changes that may be needed in our own lives?

  • Which “leaves” are turning yellow, and will soon need to drop off?
  • And in which areas of our activity do we enjoy evergreen successes?

Here are some questions which I am asking myself at present – you might want to consider them too, and will no doubt also think of others which are more applicable to your current journey…

Continue reading October Reflection