A List of Lists Every Musician Should Have

I have a confession to make: I am an obsessive list-maker. I have lists on my phone, lists on my desk, lists on my laptop…

I realize that not everyone shares my type A tendencies. Nonetheless, keeping a few lists can be beneficial for musicians. Having a few targeted lists can streamline applications, promote creativity, and keep musicians motivated. Here are a few lists I believe every musician should have:

  • Repertoire list. Many schools, festivals, or job applications require a complete list of repertoire that you’ve performed (solo, chamber music, orchestral/band, etc). Once you create your repertoire list, be sure to update it a few times every year so that it stays current. Repertoire lists are also a great way to remind yourself of all the music you’ve learned!
  • Repertoire bucket list. Make a list of music that you would love to perform one day. Don’t worry if the list is long – the great (and frustrating) part of being a musician is that you will never experience a shortage of music. If you ever find yourself at a loss for what to work on next, consult your bucket list for ideas. One of my favorite feelings is moving a piece from my bucket list to my repertoire performed list!
  • Pieces to keep in mind. This list is slightly different from the bucket list. I keep a list of pieces that I discover in music stores, online, or through friends. I use this list to find pieces to add to recital programs or other performances. For example, when I plan a recital, I program one or two pieces from my bucket list and a few incidental pieces from this list.
  • Honors and awards. Creating a one-page CV can be limiting, so I keep a separate comprehensive list of honors and awards. When I’m preparing a CV for an application, I consult this list and add the most pertinent items for the application. If nothing else, reading your complete list of honors and awards is a huge ego boost.
  • Equipment and accessories. Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite the collection of mouthpieces, barrels, ligatures, reeds, and a multitude of other clarinet products. I keep a list of clarinet equipment and accessories to stay organized and remind myself what I have.
  • Auditions taken. Ok, so this list is definitely a glass half-empty or half-full situation, depending on your perspective. It can be discouraging to see how many auditions you’ve taken (especially if you didn’t win the audition), but it can also be encouraging to remind yourself of your audition experience.
  • Students’ accomplishments. If you teach private lessons, keep a list of your students’ honors and awards, such as All State, Solo and Ensemble, or other accomplishments. This is a reflection of your teaching abilities and is great to advertise private studios or show potential students and their parents.

I hope this list helps you stay organized and get motivated! Let me know what other lists you keep in the comments below.

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