Core Location: Ground
Even though one of our main goals on the path is to develop our own music, it's good to know some covers (let's say, 10 tunes, all the way through - at least the rhythm part!).
We want to start thinking about this song list now, unless we are going to focus only on the development of our own music. The latter often means that we already did this...we've already played enough covers.
Everyone has a different mix, and the path serves both lines of development. Repertoire is music that is ready to be "performed". Whether we actually perform music is up to each of us. Yet, we can work it as an "as if".
To get ready, we start making a set list (a song list). These are songs that we want to learn and possibly jam with a band. The list can contain covers and/or originals.
A good practice is to "run the set"; maybe once a week. As students, this means that we have gathered all of the audio (mp3, CD, etc.) into a playlist, and turn it on and play through all of the songs against the recordings. This lets us know how "rehearsal" or "performance" ready we are.
Long term, this weekly "jam" can continue to manifest as playing to audio or as a soloist, or it can evolve into jamming with friends, or a band (this is also the typical cultural/social sequence...alone, with others, for others). Starting this process now helps it develop, from the start. It is one framework that is a given. It helps us see the evolution of our practice and gives us benchmarks to gain metrical insight. It may also show us which part of the process is most interesting to us.
For some, performance is the dominant domain, for others, playing solo alone is where they live. Don't assume that you automatically know where your practice will take you. Lead/follow, listen, feel, think/no-think, & watch, and relax into all of it. And, get/stay organized.