Use SmartMusic to select solos for contest or fun

SmartMusic includes the world’s largest library of solo accompaniments. Regardless of whether you are preparing students for contest or simply want to expand their musical horizons, SmartMusic can help you — and your students — in the solo selection process, as well as enhance the students’ experience of preparing a solo.

Working on solos was an important part of my early music instruction. So much so that I was determined to provide the solo experience for my students no matter what teaching circumstance I found myself. So whether your students are preparing solos for contest, to audition for an honors group, to perform at solo festival, or any other purpose, I believe SmartMusic can help with the process.

Today we’ll focus on three ways to find repertoire, one online and two in SmartMusic itself.

Finding Repertoire at
One way to search for SmartMusic repertoire is to select Find Music on the main menu at

You are now at the Search Repertoire page where your search can begin:

One advantage of searching this way is that you and your students can print out your results — helpful when you are ready to purchase your sheet music.

Finding a Solo in SmartMusic
In addition to searching on, there are two more ways to find music within SmartMusic 2010 itself, both found on the Home Page: “Browse by Category,” where you see all the solos available for your instrument or voice, and over to the right, “Quick Search,” where you can start your search with more information, or check to see if a solo you’ve selected is in the SmartMusic library.

To Browse by Category, simply click on “Solos” and specify your instrument or voice. The resulting information can be sorted by clicking on the header of each column (title, composer/arranger, publisher, and level). Many solo accompaniments do not have on-screen notation. Solos that have on-screen notation have a green-check mark in the On-Screen column in the results.

Using Quick Search locates repertoire based on your input. You can indicate, for example, composer’s name, part of a title, etc., in your search. The results will show ALL repertoire in SmartMusic based on the text, and using the resulting drop down menus, the search can be further refined.

Want to see a specific state contest list? Simply click on the text More Search Options (which I’ve circled above), to refine your search even further.

Opening Repertoire
Simply click on a title to select it, then click on “Open.” This will immediately download the file to your computer and open it in SmartMusic. If you wish to continue browsing solos without immediately opening the file, select the Download for Later option. The music will be downloaded to your computer while your search is continued. Now you and your students can listen to the piece to aid in determining if it’s the ideal solo for this year.

Hopefully these tips help you and your students to find the perfect solo piece. Stay tuned for tips on using SmartMusic in process of solo preparation, and I will share an activity that can be used with beginners to help get them hooked on playing solos.

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