Practicing Musician’s “Modern Teaching Best Practices” column for In Tune magazine is now available! You can read a copy below or view the whole magazine by visiting

Choosing Repertoire

Choosing repertoire that is both challenging and interesting can be a difficult task. By choosing music that students can relate to, we can make their learning process much easier and more enjoyable.

Analyze Your Students

The first step to choosing relatable repertoire is analyzing your students’ current knowledge of repertoire. By asking questions about their personal lives, musical preferences, and favorite genres, we have the chance to choose music that will be most meaningful to them.
We may notice a student who loves music from their family’s culture, is a follower of a particular style or genre, or perhaps a performer who would rather learn repertoire from various genres. When we consider these preferences while choosing repertoire, our students will learn this music with much more ease.

Choose Music Based on Familiar Melodies

The second step is to choose music based on melodies familiar to our students. Although not possible all the time, choosing music based on student familiarity helps them connect with it on a deeper level. They will better understand and remember the melody and the accompanying lyrics, making their overall musical experience more meaningful.
When looking for pieces based on familiar tunes, it’s important to ensure that the arrangements are appropriate for our student’s skill levels. We don’t want to choose a piece that is too difficult for them, but we also want to challenge them by choosing music that is slightly above their skill level.

Teach in a Fun and Interesting Way

The third step is to teach repertoire in a fun and interesting way. We want our students to enjoy their musical experience and leave our class feeling motivated and inspired. Utilize your analysis from step one to teach your students in a way that accomplishes this goal.

Relatable Repertoire Can Make All the Difference!

Choosing relevant and relatable music that engages students helps us challenge and motivate them and develop a love of music that will last a lifetime!