Selecting a Solo: Commit Yourself

If you’ve already read the first and second installments in this series, you should now have in mind one or two solo pieces that seem like good choices for a performance. Today’s information is designed to help you commit firmly to one of these.

Before you make a decision, you need to play at least once through any piece you are thinking of performing. This process will reveal any challenges that may not be readily apparent when you look at the printed music–passages that are more tiring than you expect, for example, or awkward fingerings that don’t look hard on paper. Once you’ve played though all of your options, consider each piece in light of the following checklist. If it’s a good solo for you, you should be able to answer “yes” to all of the following questions:

  • Am I capable of hitting every note in this piece most of the time?
  • Does it include enough rest for me to play from start to finish and sound great at the end?
  • Do I currently possess the technical skills that are showcased in this piece (including double- or triple-tonguing, rapid lip slurs, extended technique, etc.)?
  • Will this music challenge me?
  • Do I have enough time to master the challenges posed by this music in light of competing commitments in my life over the next several weeks (including other music I might have to practice or major issues in my playing)?
  • Does some part of this music excite/interest/inspire me?
  • Will this piece highlight the best parts of my playing?
  • With appropriate practice, am I capable of maintaining a great sound on the trumpet for the entire duration of this work?

If you have more than one piece that meets all of these qualifications, make your final decision based on the following criteria:

  • For this occasion, is it more important to play something that will push me to improve on my weaknesses, or something that will highlight my strengths?
  • Do I love one piece more than the other; will I be more enthusiastic about one in particular?

Congratulations! At this point this you should be ready to move forward into the next part of this series, Preparing a Solo.

On to Preparing a Solo: Make a Plan

Return to Selecting a Solo: How to Find a Piece

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