I mentioned earlier that your music library program can and should be more than just a list of music – it can be an invaluable planning tool as well! One of the best ways to start using your library data in this way is to create a Ratings data point for each of the titles in your library. This allows you to “rank” the music in your library by whatever arbitrary criteria you want to use.
Here’s how I am currently using this concept (sample record from my database):
(Composer and Arranger are omitted for the purposes of this article)
My rating of this title is 33… so what does that mean?
In my library system, the Rating is a two-digit number, with each number ranging from 1-5. The first number is simply how much I like the piece on a 1-5 scale:
- music I would rather toss in the trash than ever hear again
- music that I don’t really like but has some other redeeming qualities making it worth saving
- perfectly fine but doesn’t particularly stand out
- really cool or interesting music
- absolutely amazing music
The second number corresponds to how difficult I think the piece is for the target ensemble:
- Super easy, sight-readable
- Easy, minimal challenges
- Moderately challenging
- Really challenging
Using this system I can quickly see from my example that this title is something I liked just fine and seems about average in difficulty. Depending on my needs, I could make a quick initial judgment about whether to pull it from my files and play through it, or if I need to find something easier or more engaging.
- Crunch time! We need a beautiful, powerful anthem with very little rehearsal: I’m looking for titles rated 41, 42, or 51, 52
- Longer planning – we have an upcoming concert or tour and can spend some time on some great music: probably looking for titles rated 44-45, or even 53-55
I don’t purposefully go looking for titles rated in the 30’s or lower – but it is still helpful to have that rating in place when you are looking at entire libraries of music and you need to address a specific seasonal or scriptural topic or theme. And besides, just because I don’t personally love a composition doesn’t mean there are plenty others who do.
I’ll spend some more time on integrating library databases and ratings in a future post, but I hope that this inspires you to create a ratings system of your own and use that library for ministry.
Soli Deo Gloria.