S1E1: Setting Goals for Guaranteed Growth and Learning

Why repertoire selection is important

We discuss:

  • How repertoire forms the basis of the teaching and learning that goes on in our rehearsals
  • How repertoire communicates what we value as educators
  • How this may be our musicians' only exposure to this genre of music

Setting Musical Goals

  • The importance of planning a year ahead
  • The impact of setting long, medium and short term goals
  • Where is your ensemble now? What skills do they currently have?
  • Where do you want them to be in 12 months?
  • What skills do they currently have?
  • What skills & knowledge do they need to build to progress to the next ensemble or their next destination (college, community, music advocate/appreciator)

Where are they at now? Making A Skills Inventory

Download the Yearly Skill Development Planner Template and and fill it out for your ensemble!

How to inventory the incoming skills and abilities of the ensemble across 6 areas:

  1. Musical - technical skills (keys, dynamics, rhythms etc), theoretical knowledge
  2. Ensemble - internal pulse, intonation, balance, blend
  3. Listening - balance, blend, knowing how and where to listen
  4. Human - communication within ensemble, constructive feedback
  5. Behavioural - attentional control, not playing/speaking over others, concert etiquette, presentation skills
  6. Life Skills & Knowledge - attitude, perseverance, confidence, performance under pressure

Where do you want to go? Setting Long to Short Term Goals

  • Set long term goals for your ensembles for the end of the year
  • Plot backwards from one year in the future to now
  • Scaffold skill development from Point A to Point B

Creating Your Performance Calendar

Download the Performance Calendar Template

  • Add Performance details - date, venue, context, audience, music needed
  • Add in rehearsal schedule - how many rehearsals for each performance, beware overlap between performances, public holidays, time between performances, special events
  • Progress Accelerators - rehearsal camps, extended rehearsals, tours, contests, honor bands, workshops, guest clinicians
  • Progress Decelerators - academic exams/testing/assessment, public holidays, snow days, emergencies, illness periods eg. winter, holiday periods, breaks between rehearsals
  • Add in musical goals - allow buffer room, be ready to perform at least one rehearsal earlier than you think you should, have non-performance elements ready at least 2 rehearsals before the performance

Benefits of this process:

  • No surprises!
  • Always being prepared for each performance (both you and the ensemble!)
  • Build in contingencies for common issues
  • Monitor progress throughout the year - keep track of where you are
  • Know at a glance where you are at any point in the year


  1. Download the Yearly Skill Development Planner Template and fill it out for your ensemble/s
  2. Download the Performance Calendar Template and fill it out for your ensemble/s

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Check out our videos YouTube

S1E7: Engaging Players and Audiences with Thematic Programming

The how and why of thematic programming to engage your players and (new) audiences.


S1E6: Discernment: How to Pick Quality Music

How do we determine artistic excellence? How do we select music that is appropriate for our ensembles, audiences and performances?


S1E5: Finding New Music: Being A Repertoire Detective

Where and how to look for new repertoire.