After a few weeks of having a proper break from the piano (travelling, working on/drowning in my novel draft and very unlike me, just switching off 😮), I’m back with my love and have to say sometimes stepping away really does help to refocus 🎹.
I’ve spent some time today on setting out my repertoire roadmap ahead. I don’t know how other people go about these things but I like to have variation in my pieces and always try to mix it up with different targets in mind. Since an increasing number of people around me ask me what I’m playing at the moment (out of genuine interest rather than because they ran out of conversation I hope… 🤔), here’s what I’m working on right now:
The Challenge Piece: Ravel ‘Sonatine 1st Movement Modéré’
The first of the three Sonatines was completed in 1903 followed by the two others two years later. Personally, I only really like 1 and 3 and my attention span is way too short to enjoy these three in one go but… All three together are part of the DipABRSM repertoire list and the first pieces I’m preparing for that exam (and possibly the ARSM before that), so those are going to be my constant companion ahead. Hence, this is my challenge piece at the moment; something to step up to and to push my boundaries.
The Diversity Piece: Brahms ‘Hungarian Dance No. 5’ for four hands
The diversity piece is my space to try something different, be it a genre or style I haven’t tried before, which can still be technically demanding but perhaps not a piece that fits the bill of say an DipABRSM repertoire piece. This piece right now is a pet project I’m working on with my mum. Within the memories of total agony and tears learning the piano under a hugely talented and completely ruthless unforgiving very Asian mother (fortunately she despaired quickly enough), playing Diabelli’s Jugendfreuden together was a rare ray of light in the darkness. Attempting this four hands is rather exciting since we haven’t done anything like it in over twenty years and I only play solo.
The Easy Fun One: Arlen ‘Over the Rainbow’
Everyone knows ‘Over the Rainbow’. Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version is not only the closing song to one of my fav romcoms (generally not a fan of them and especially not of Adam Sandler) but also holds a special place in my heart from an unforgettable holiday in Hawaii. This is an ABRSM grade 6 piece and an absolutely beautiful modern option to play. Perfect for some easy fun that still adds lots of joy and is pleasing to everyone around.
The Technical Piece: Chopin ‘Etude Op. 25 No. 2’
I rather enjoy doing an etude on the side and keep that in mind whenever I plan out my repertoire (although admittedly it’s the first component that drops off from my agenda when I don’t have enough time…) but so far had shunned Chopin preferring less popular selections like Moszkowski. This is my first attempt at a Chopin Etude… I know people can have mixed feelings about etudes but I have plenty on my list that I look forward to tackling alongside my other pieces.
Now that’s the roadmap… Let’s see how long it lasts 😝
So, that’s me: challenge, diversity, easy fun and technique pieces.
How do you choose your repertoire of simultaneous pieces? How much planning do you do ahead? Do you plan your repertoire around long-term goals? I’d love to hear how other pianists go about this!