The goal is to increase the audience's understanding and enjoyment of the music preformed. Program notes should be well researched. Consult standard reference works to provide a clear summary of the piece. Include some interesting items, such as a dedication or review to show how the work was received at the piece's premiere. Consider the audience and their level of understanding. For example, for a very young audience avoid advanced theoretical analysis and technical language.
While program notes are intended to give the audience a sense of the composition's history and its place in the history of music, you can shape your program notes to have a larger point or tell your audience what you want them to get from your performance. This is your chance to educate and inform your audience, so make the most of it!
Unsure how to get started? Compile a list of questions:
Your program notes do not need to answer ALL of these questions. These are starting points for your research and for crafting a clear point or narrative for your program notes.
Here's a quick guide to things to include and avoid:
|Circumstances of composition||Personal anecdotes|
|Historical context||Footnotes and bibliography|
|Things to listen for||Technical terminology|