Lesson 3: Practicing Repertoire

Featuring: Leo Blanco, Professor at Berklee College of Music

This lesson will focus on developing a repertoire library. Your repertoire is a list of songs that you know pretty well and that you feel comfortable playing at any time, whether it’s an onstage performance or recorded session. You will also have an opportunity to jam using play-along tools, such as the PULSE Jam Room and Casio Downloads to develop your performance skills.


This lesson is built upon the content of video 3. Specific instructions are provided on how to work with students in class. Assessments for each lesson map directly to each lesson’s stated outcomes.


  • Explain the importance of selecting appropriate repertoire and incorporating it into a practice section
  • Select appropriate pieces to work on during the repertoire section of a practice session
  • Demonstrate practice readiness by choosing a play-along to be used in practice session
  • Complete a plan for how you will use these play-alongs in your daily practice in the coming week


Instructional Activity Ideas:

Exposition of Material: 5-7 minutes (including the video) 

1. Teacher provides a very brief introduction (3 minutes) on the importance of choosing appropriate repertoire to develop your skills. Teacher also defines what a play-along is (because it is not defined in the video itself, as currently scripted).

2. Teacher shows video.

Identifying Key Concepts and Terms: 10 minutes

3. After the video, provide the students with Video 3: Assessment Video Key Points Scavenger Hunt that helps them find the key points in the video. Go over each of the questions out loud in class.

4. Show the video a second time. This time, students watch the video and take notes on their handout.

5. Teacher provides a transcript of the video and gives students 5-7 minutes to complete the handout, or discusses each question on the handout and students can write down the answers during discussion.

6. Students submit the handout/assessment.

(Note: It is ok that students had help with this; it’s still an assessment. Depending on teaching style, teacher may not choose to give out the transcript or discuss answers til students have completed the form.)

Planning For Play-Along In Practice: 10 minutes

7. Identify play-along tracks that will help you meet your practice goals. You can find materials online at the PULSE Notation mixer available in the PULSE Jam Room. Also, try an online search using terms such as “play-along tracks,” and you’ll find a long list of results. Many instrument makers provide play-along tracks on their websites. Check out the Casio Downloads site.

8. Share these with your teacher for input and approval.

9. Decide when and how you will use these song tracks in your practice session, and then write down the names and locations of these tracks in the notes section for each day in your journal.

10. Submit your plan to your teacher.

In the next video, we’re going to talk about free time and improvisation, the final portion of a practice session.

Lesson Closing

  • Submit the "Video 3: Assessment Video Key Points Scavenger Hunt"
  • Submit plan for play-alongs

PULSE Resources: Extended Learning

Request a PULSE Demo Account

Practice Room: This area of the PULSE site offers a variety of instrument-specific resources including exercises, interactive practice tools, and instructional videos featuring Berklee faculty. Using the Practice Journal, students define and assess practice goals with the aid of their teacher.

Study Room: This area of PULSE includes curriculum resources devoted to contemporary musicianship and theory centering around the PULSE music library. Ten units of study, broken down into three levels, that focus on different musical concepts that are supported by a variety of materials like books, games, videos, exercises, interactive tools, and assessments. 

Throughout the Performance Level 1 Unit, you will learn about many of the basics of performance that form the foundation of most young performers. Whether you're a horn player, a guitarist or a singer, you need to know how to take care of your body, how to act in certain performance situations, and how to practice and rehearse for the first performance opportunities that you'll have.

Jam Room: Choose repertoire from PULSE’s ever-expanding collection of contemporary music in our Jam Room. Gain a deeper understanding of the songs you want to practice through our part analysis and “slow-downer” tools. Experience a live ensemble experience through the use of our Notation Mixer, a multi track mixer that synchronizes track from the PULSE Song Library to music notation.

    • Play-along to the “Rhythm Changes” track that Leo Blanco used in his practice routine!