S1E6: Discernment: How to Pick Quality Music

What does artistic excellence look and sound like?

  • Expectations
  • Form, shape & design
  • Orchestration & density
  • Style
  • Development
  • Idiom
  • Musical validity
  • Appeal & interest to players, audience and us
  • Being the adult in the room - training musical palates rather than pandering

Download the Determining Excellence Checklist PDF

Blog post: Why can't the kids pick their own music?

Stephen Budiansky's Washington Post article: The kids play great, but that music...

How to develop your own discernment and taste

  • Getting out of the rehearsal room
  • Listening beyond your ensemble/genre
  • Listening to great (and bad!) performances
  • Listen outside classical music

Musical Inspiration for Conductors (Youtube playlist)


  • How to listen
  • Where to listen

How to select music that is appropriate for your:

  • Ensemble
  • Occasion
  • Audience

Download the Determining Appropriateness Checklist PDF

Action Steps

  1. Select a work that is new to you and assess its artistic excellence using the checklist.
  2. Select an upcoming performance in your calendar. Assess the work from Step 1 for its appropriateness to that event using the checklist.

Share your action steps with us on Instagram!

Take a photo or screen shot, tag us @conductingartistry and use hashtag #conductingartistryinaction

Keep on learning!

Follow us on Instagram

Join the community Facebook

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.