A new community for practicing musicians, ensembles, and music teachers.
One of the essential aspects of being a well-rounded musician is having a robust and diverse repertoire of pieces and songs, ready to perform. A solid repertoire is foundational—it is the bedrock upon which musicians build performances. When a musician has internalized the music, she can play to the best of her abilities. She can inhabit the music and channel it through her, profoundly connecting with her audiences with it.
Think of a concert you saw which moved you, one where the performance stayed with you long after the last notes faded out. Through mastery of not only their instruments but the repertoire they played, the musicians could connect you directly to the music. It doesn’t matter if Mahler, Monk, Marley, or Megadeth wrote the music. In an experience like that, the music is not mere entertainment; it transports you. You take a journey, and it tells you its stories. It makes you forget about your daily worries, at least for a little while.
I love being a part of that experience. I love it as a listener, following the emotional path that the music lays out in front of me.
On rare, fortunate occasions, I can facilitate that journey for others as a performer.
I am a musician, though because it's not my full-time profession, I perform only occasionally. Sometimes my performance falters. Other times, though, I get out of my own way and surrender myself to my training and to the music, allowing it to come through me.
How can I get there more often? How can we practicing musicians get there more often?
- As performers, how do we achieve a level of mastery which allows us to go beyond the notes on the page and make the music speak?
- As music teachers, how can we can we better help our students to learn the fundamentals of their instruments? How can we guide them towards repertoire that will build their confidence and highlight their growing musicianship?
- As groups or ensembles, how can we ensure we're making the best use of our rehearsal time? How can everyone in the group prepare to play the material to the best of their abilities?
As anyone who has committed to learning how to play an instrument well can tell you, countless hours of practice are necessary to achieve a semblance of mastery. Sure, 10,000 hours might get us there, but the sheer time spent practicing is no guarantee. There's more to it than that. Our practice must be effective.
Effective practice requires feedback loops. These can be the advice of your teacher, or perhaps recordings of yourself which you listen back to with an ear towards improving your playing. Effective practice needs to be deliberate. It requires planning, figuring out what you need to focus on and why. Effective practice requires review to reinforce and retain what you've learned in the past. Effective practice also involves teaching, which may mean you're the teacher in a traditional teacher/student relationship, or it may be that you're offering constructive criticism to other musicians. It may involve both.
I believe we practicing musicians should have a platform that helps us practice more effectively and retain more of what we learn. It should be a place which connects us with other musicians whom we might not otherwise meet. It should be a place where musicians, regardless of their chosen instruments, skill levels, or preferred genres, support and encourage one another.
I have yet to find a platform like this, and it's something I would like to see in the world. I'm building Repertoireist to be that platform.
Mission and Vision
To better understand what Repertoireist is all about, its mission and vision help articulate and codify its what, why, and how. The mission is the what and why. It is the North Star, helping me navigate product decisions and stay true to the path I’ve had in mind since the start. The vision is the how, a high-level overview of what I’ll do to stay true to the mission, at least over the foreseeable future.
To help musicians of all skill levels expand their musical knowledge and reach their full potential as performers.
To create tools which empower musicians, ensembles, and educators to learn, share, and teach more music, more deeply and effectively.
In concrete terms, Repertoireist is an online platform and community. With it, you'll be able to track your practice sessions and your progress. You'll be able to post audio and video for your own review or for sharing with the community. Of course, you'll be able to follow other musicians and see what they choose to share. You can get reminders to revisit music you haven't worked on in a while. And that's just the beginning.
There are near term plans on the roadmap to help facilitate how music teachers work with their students, as well as help ensembles work together more effectively.
It's not quite ready for the public just yet, though.
The first version of Repertoireist is slated to launch in Spring 2019.
The Path Forward
I aim to make Repertoireist something useful for all practicing musicians. Whether you've been a musician for three months or 30 years. Whether you're a teacher, a student, or both. Whether you play the piano, flute, guitar, or hurdy-gurdy. Whether you play music by Chopin, Coltrane, Cage, or compositions of your own. If any of these sounds like you, I'm building Repertoireist for you.
If this resonates with you at all, I would love to hear from you. I want to know how I can make Repertoireist work best for you. Send me a note let me know your thoughts on how you develop your musicianship.
In the meantime, check back here from time to time to find out what's new with Repertoireist. Better yet, subscribe to the newsletter and get updates delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribers will also have the opportunity to get early access to Repertoireist before it launches.
I'm excited to share Repertoireist with you soon, and I'm looking forward to hearing your music.