The majority of colleges and universities will ask for a solo repertoire list. The list will need to include all solo pieces that you have performed since you began as an instrumentalist or singer. So, you will need to go through every solo that you’ve performed and studied and list them all. One can only assume that the more solos listed on the repertoire list the greater the advantage.
For most, the repertoire list will begin in the seventh or eighth grade with the first solo performed for a rating at state Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Most student performers will work on one solo a year at either their state-sponsored Solo and Ensemble Festival and/or All-State auditions. When the event is finished, the solo is put away and a new solo piece is selected for the next music grade level. Practicing and coaching begin for next year’s festivals and auditions.
A Surprise Performance
When the college audition comes around, you will find that you’re ready with your most technically and musically challenging solo. This solo is so well rehearsed that you are confident that it is going to wow the collegiate adjudicators into awarding you one of their top-tier scholarships. However, at the audition, you have played through maybe one-third of your solo when one of the adjudicators suddenly stops you. They may say, "Thank you, as I was reading down your repertoire list I see that you’ve performed "The Clarion Suite" in the eighth grade. Could we hear a performance of that solo?" So, you scramble in your backpack to find the music, realizing that you’ve not looked at it, much less performed it, for over four years. Still, you give it your best shot and perform it to the best of your abilities. Afterward, the panel may ask you to perform another solo listed on your repertoire list.
What Should You Include?
Some advice concerning your repertoire list: Be honest. List only the compositions that you have fully performed. Be wise — keep all solos on your repertoire list performance ready. Remember, collegiate adjudicators expect a budding professional musician to be performance ready, regardless of the grade level of the composition. Remember, the adjudicator expects your technique to be flawless. More often, they are listening for a mature musical interpretation of the composition. So, be honest, wise, and prepared!
Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO