“Programs are a bit like prix-fixe menus in a restaurant: We can’t serve music à la carte . . . so our menu has to be quite diverse and – tasty.”
-Eckart Preu, conductor (The Musician’s Way, p. 212)
Musicians who can transfix audiences succeed because of more than their artistry and charisma.
Spellbinding concerts result from the combined effect of the performers, venue, and the focus of this post – programming.
Here are 7 guidelines to help rising musicians craft winning concert programs.
1. Know Your Audience
Just as different foods suit different age groups, settings, and times of day, programs should be tailored to specific occasions. For an audience of aficionados, let’s say, you could include experimental titles. But for listeners who aren’t familiar with your style, it’s usually best to stick with approachable music and mix in entertaining spoken program notes.
2. Choose Music You Can Handle
Opt for accessible repertoire that allows you to express yourself freely and build confidence. Never program music that outstrips your technical ability.
3. Begin with Welcoming Music
Like hors d’ouevres before a banquet, your opening selection whets listeners’ appetites. Start with straightforward music that introduces an audience to your sound and enables you to settle in.