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.


S1E4: The Concert: Creating An Emotional Journey

Curating transformative experiences for performers and audiences.


S1E3: Creating Balanced, Contrasting Programs

Make your audience and players hungry for more with programs that are varied and balanced.


S1E2: Make Real Music Faster with Appropriate Repertoire

Get to real music making faster by selecting appropriate music. 8 Common ensemble problems caused by repertoire choice and how to avoid them. The 80/20 rule for selecting music that is the right level for your ensemble.


S1E1: Setting Goals for Guaranteed Growth and Learning

The building blocks of repertoire selection: where do you want to go, and how long have you got to get there? Tools and strategies to feel ready and prepared for every performance. Set goals that ensure your ensemble members progress holistically throughout the year, both as musicians and as people.