Divas, I have a confession to make. I only just recently took action on a huge blind spot of my own. Remember when we talked about finding your blind spots? I told you about how I think of craft, network, and materials as the three pillars or the three-legged stool of music business. I also wrote, “Take a comprehensive look at your craft, network, and materials and determine which area is your blind spot. It’s possible that a sub-section of that area is the blind spot.” Well, my confession is one of those sub-sections: the repertoire list.
I have been putting off creating a thorough and complete repertoire list for years. I’ve been cobbling scraps of lists together for way too long. It makes my heart sink to think about the applications I sent in that had such a rough outline of the actual work I’ve done in my singing life. So at the end of last year, I summoned some willpower and did the opposite of a micro-action. I rolled two absolutely giant activities into one: I went through every single piece of music I have in my possession to declutter what I no longer needed in paper form and entered all of the relevant details into a master repertoire list.
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29 Days to Diva Day 15 Assignment: Update Your Repertoire List
My darlings, please learn from my self-inflicted hardship. Do not, I repeat, do not wait this long to create a detailed and complete repertoire list. I wish I would have taken diva mentor and dazzling coloratura soprano Kirsten Ashley Wiest‘s advice much earlier, “Keep your repertoire list up-to-date. A lot of organizers like to see this, and having to think back to remember what all you’ve sung is much more difficult and time-consuming than entering the information into your list after each performance.”
The micro-action version of this is ideally quite easy to accomplish. Open your already created repertoire list and enter all of the details for the pieces you’ve performed/workshopped/learned recently. Does recently mean last month? Last three months? Last six months? That’s up to you to decide. In fact, here’s a bonus micro-action for today’s assignment: add an “update your repertoire list” trigger to your calendar (like we did in Pitch/Submit/Apply/Ask.)
A repertoire list template for classical singers
What’s that you say? I’m not alone in having gone this long without a functioning repertoire list? Well, divas, my tribulation is your gain then. I made you a template!
Here are the column headings I use in my repertoire list:
- Composer First Name
- Composer Last Name
Demographic information. It is my intention to program more inclusively and equitably and this demographic information in my repertoire list helps me program and suggest repertoire to others.
- Women Composers
- Non binary Composers
- POC Composers
- Title (Do not forget diacritical marks – enter a link like this one in the heading for easy copy/paste access)
- Year Composed
What exactly have I done with these works?
- Performed (y/n)
- Premiered (y/n)
- Professionally Recorded (y/n)
- Commissioned (y/n)
- Written for me (y/n)
- Reading Session (y/n)
Opera-specific (or other large work) information
- Aria (y/n)
- Recit (y/n)
- Opera Title
- Chamber Opera Title
- Operetta Title
- Oratorio Title
What is the instrumentation?
- Chamber Music
- pf + v
- Solo Voice
- Multiple Voices
- Choral (solo)
- chamber orchestra
- musical theatre
- open instrumentation
- wind ensemble
- (More specific instrumentations included here)
Show your work!
Now, it’s your turn. What kinds of questions do you have for me about updating your repertoire list? Do you have any tips and tricks to share with your diva colleagues? I would love to hear them. Take a screenshot of your repertoire list and share it with me on social media. I’m @mezzoihnen. Tag me and use #29DaysToDiva or #29DTD. I love to hear from you!
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Let’s get in the way back machine and travel to the 2012 season of 29 Days to Diva for this challenge:
In the commotion of learning roles, recital repertoire, and the overall business of being a classical singer it is difficult to keep all the memories stored in our brains. Most of us grew up with journals and diaries locked away under our beds or tucked in dressers. Details about people and events that were so important to our lives at that very moment fill up page after page. Photographs and ticket stubs haphazardly stuck in between the sheaves. Some of us (moi included) jumped to blogging as a means to capture these fleeting moments. Most young artists are highly skilled at social documentation using Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram. Now that you have your website, after yesterday’s challenge, it is time to start strategically observing your own career.
Your day 10 challenge is to document your singing life.
Most of us carry the technology around everyday without noticing how it can help us document our career. You have a phone, a camera, a voice recorder, a flipcam – use this technology to your advantage!
Read all of 29 Days to Diva: Day 10 – Document Your Life right here.
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