February 22, 2012

Three sure ways to double your repertoire today

We all want to have a prodigious repertoire that will allow us to play for hours with little to know effort.  But how do you get there?  You know that it will take some time to develop a deep repertoire but there are three steps to getting there quicker.

1.       Play the classics.  While you know “Twinkle” because you learned them at your first lesson, that doesn’t mean that your audience won’t love it when you play it!  Bring out and play all those eight-bar tunes!  The tunes you know are the ones to play – they’re not trite, they’re fun…and…you know them!

2.       Rearrange your tunes.  Whether you learn by ear or a strict page reader, you can make more of your repertoire by “letting go”.  You can use the same chord progression (which means you only have to remember the one progression) but present it in different ways – 5ths, octaves, blocked chords, broken chords, rolled chords, various collections of these).  This will allow you to play a tune through as many repeats as you need.  If you’re playing off the paper, you might want to write in the chord names – make it your own lead sheet.  And, if you can, add in some alternate chords for variety.

3.       Timing is everything.  Music is a means of communication.  What you choose to communicate is up to you.  The tunes you know can often do double duty - especially when you have no time to prepare.  Most of the “fast tunes” you know can be slowed way down – way down!  This will instantaneously increase your store of airs.  But remember too that your store of airs can be sped up – thus increasing your cache of fast tunes (this does take some practice!).  And it’s relatively easy to do – the biggest challenge is to actually play slowly!  The chord progressions stay the say, but break the chord up which will help you stay slow.

All these will, at a minimum, double your repertoire – as quickly as today.  Don’t forget to write out a list of your tunes – don’t want to forget any of them!

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