How to Build Your Repertoire

How to Build Your Repertoire


“One day, your friends visited your house. Knowing that you have been learning piano for several years, they requested you to play them a song. Although you really wished to entertain your friends with a nice song, you can’t really play a song completely and perfectly. Why? It is not because you have bad piano skills, but because you haven’t master the song that you have been practicing recently. Unfortunately, you have forgotten the songs that you have been playing well previously too.”


Embarrassing MomentHave you experienced the above situation before? That is indeed an embarrassing moment for a piano player. But don’t worry, there is a solution for it. With some dedication and effort, every piano player can build a repertoire. Building a repertoire means creating a list of songs which you can play well anytime.


3 Simple Steps

1. Pick a Theme

Give your repertoire a theme or title. For example:

“Songs that I like”

“Classical music”

“Pop songs for guests”

Doing so can help you to categorize and choose the suitable music you want to include in your repertoire.


2. Choose Your Music

You can start by listing out the songs that you have learned before in a piece of paper. Then, choose the songs that you wish to include in your repertoire list. You can also include new music that is relevant to your theme or you wish to learn. Besides, you need to decide what is the number of songs you wish to include in the list or set a duration for your repertoire. For example, you can have a list of 10 songs or a list to be played for 30 minutes. It is recommended to start with a short list in the beginning.

For piano players at late beginner or early intermediate level, these easy piano books offer you some awesome ideas on the music you can include in your first repertoire.


This post contains affiliate links and I’ll earn a small commission if you shop through them. This is how we help to make money so we can continue to bring you amazing content.


look inside
First 50 Classical Pieces You Should Play on the Piano
Composed by Various. For Piano. Easy Piano Songbook. Softcover. 138 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.131436).


look inside
Mozart – 15 Easy Piano Pieces
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Edited by Elena Abend. For Piano, Piano/Keyboard (Piano Solo). Schirmer Performance Editions. SMP Level 4 (Intermediate). Softcover Audio Online. 32 pages. Published by G. Schirmer (HL.296685).


look inside
World’s Most Beautiful Music
Arranged by Dan Coates. For Piano. Book; Piano – Easy Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Easy Piano. 148 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.34521).


look inside
The Disney Collection
Composed by Various. For Piano/Keyboard. Easy Piano Songbook. Softcover. 304 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.119716).


look inside
The Giant Book of Pop & Rock Sheet Music
(Easy Piano). Arranged by Dan Coates. For Piano. This edition: Easy Piano. Book; Piano – Easy Piano Collection. The Giant Book of Sheet Music. Pop; Rock. Easy Piano. 200 pages. Published by Alfred Music (AP.42387).


3. Set a Schedule for Your Practice

After choosing the songs you want to include in your repertoire list, the next step is to review the list by checking which song requires more fine tuning, practice or learning. Set a schedule to work on each song one at a time until you can play them without mistakes. Try to memorize the songs if possible.

Practice the songs you have learned at least a few times a week to keep it in your long term memory. When the list of songs grows longer, you can rotate the songs for practice. Remember to keep practicing so that you won’t forget them!


Potential Obstacles

In order to store the list of songs in your memory, you need to play the songs frequently for a long period of time. Some of us may feel bored for playing the same songs over and over again. Therefore, the lack of perseverance and patience are the biggest obstacles that cause failure in retaining the songs in the repertoire.


Tips for Success

It is recommended to organize your sheet music in an easily accessible manner. You can keep them in a clear folder and arrange them in the order that you want them to be played. To prevent getting bored, try to keep the list fresh by rotating the songs for practice. Improve your sight reading so that you can still play the song perfectly even if you have forgotten certain bits of it. Lastly, perseverance is the key to success!


I’d like to hear from you! Do you have your own repertoire? If yes, what is the theme and how many songs are there in the list? If no, are you planning to start creating your repertoire list? Let me know in the comment box below!


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  1. Hi there,
    Very interesting post. I am not really deep into music, but when I read your article I can easily transfer it to any topic as setting a plan for practising is the component that makes you really successful. Even if you are talented you need to practice and practice again to become safer with what you do. At some time, in the future you will have mastered whatever you want to.
    In my opinion, practicing is the most important to thing to do in order to become successful. You need to be meticulous.
    Looking forward to reading more from you.

    1. Hi Don, thanks for reading! I agree with what you said. Even though practicing may seem bored, it is one of the essential element which can bring you success in learning any musical instrument.


  2. I’ve been learning piano for a year now but I still can’t play a whole song well. Maybe because im not always practicing or is always busy at work. This article showed me some tips on how to overcome my bottlenecks. I also feel pressured to play a whole song especially “A thousand Miles”. Thanks for your tips. I really need to focus on one song first to master and be able to play the whole song 🙂

    1. Hi Keye, thanks for your comment. If you feel that learning to play a whole song is hard, you can break the song down to different parts and tackle them separately. Practice each smaller part one at a time until you can play it well. After you have learned all the parts, try to put them together and practice until you can play the whole song fluently. Hope this helps. Wish you all the best!


  3. Lol, sounds like me a lot. Though I only own a electronic keyboard I mostly use for self entertainment. Friends notice it when visiting and always assume I’m the next Beethoven. Well I’m not lol.

    I have so much to learn, learning to read notes is one of them. I mostly like to play songs I taught myself to play such as Fer Elise, so I can impress them with that, but that’s as far as it goes.

    Seems I can learn a great deal from this website, so Thank You and I will be bookmarking.

    1. Hi Jason, it is good that you can self-taught piano to yourself! Are you playing by ear? Glad that you like this article and hope that you are benefited from it. I wrote an article about how to practice sight reading which may help you if you are learning to read notes. Cheers.

  4. SOme great advice here on how to pick your repertoire and keep people interested with the choice! I often find that these sorts of things leave people ( listeners ) a bit cold due to people going down the classical route. I like the way you have managed to wrap in popular songs to this advice – great article and site 🙂

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. It is fine to play some popular songs when the practice of classical music is getting dull and bored. Sometimes it is good for impressing people too!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post. I don’t play piano, but I do play guitar, so the principles of learning and memorising are the same. I’ve been guilty of exactly what you say in your post. People requesting I play something on the guitar – a full song – but then my memory either fails me, or I haven’t learnt most songs all the way through. Thanks for sharing this info.

  6. I used to play piano and i definetely can approve what you tell in this content.

    I learned ÄŸpiano by myself and i was pretty good at the time. But i was struggling with remembering the piecews, couldn’t play a piece perfectly. And this was the main problem.

    Thannks for the reference books, they really help.

    1. Hi Tyler, thanks for your comment. Hope that this article helps you to remember some of your favorite pieces and builds your repertoire. 🙂

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