In the folk song Dog and Cat, there’s a line that goes, “Bought me a coat, bought me a hat, they don’t fit do not mind that.” Well, I do mind that, and I have a freshly decluttered closet to prove it. I’m done settling for “regular” sized shirts and pants on my six foot frame.

It was in this mindset that I question how I would declutter my music repertoire. What do I love and want to keep? What should I discard, and what should replace it? So, I came up with a more detailed list of questions that would help me during my decluttering spree.

Whether you enjoy decluttering like me or can’t wait for the minimalist phase to pass, I hope this list proves helpful to you.

  • Does this spark joy in my students? If not joy, then does it evoke a strong emotion and/or make a powerful connection to their daily lives?
  • Do you enjoy this piece? Will you be able to portray honest enthusiasm when teaching it?
  • Do your repertoire choices reflect the lives and experiences of your students?
  • What pieces do you dread teaching? Why? Is there an alternative that would better serve both you and your students?
  • Are there pieces that you avoid teaching because you think you don’t have the knowledge necessary to teach them? If so, what actionable steps might you take to change that?
  • Do you feel confident about the choices you’ve made? If not, why?
  • Do you know the history of each piece and the meaning behind the lyrics?
  • Can an important life lesson be taught using this piece?
  • Can you use this piece to teach empathy?

I wish I could go back to my first year of teaching and hand myself this list of questions. I’m certain there were pieces I used then, that I wouldn’t choose to write about today. And I know of several pieces I didn’t know then, that I’d be thrilled to include now.

I’m not in the classroom anymore, but I take my job as a content creator seriously. I’m privileged to be able to share my ideas, and in going forward, I plan to keep this list of questions close at hand.