Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why You Should Record Yourself

"Perfect practice makes perfect." We’ve all heard this before. Figure out what you need to focus on, organize your practice sessions to facilitate progress and you should succeed. But when it comes to being critical about your playing, it can be tough to accurately critique yourself in the moment.

The best solution? Record yourself.

Whether you’re practicing multi-limb independence exercises on the drum set or a rudimental snare drum solo, making recordings of your playing can be one of the most valuable tools for improvement. Reviewing recordings of yourself can provide you with the most objective perspective short of having someone else listen to you play (which is also important).

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to book studio time. A decent quality digital home recording will suffice (We’ll cover this in detail in a later post). These days, the technology is readily available, and more affordable than ever.

Make recording critique a part of your practice routine. You don’t necessarily have to record everything you play, though since you’re going digital and can always erase or trim the files, you might as well capture your whole practice routine. Leaving as much of your recording setup assembled and ready to go at a moment’s notice will allow you to hit record, focus on your playing, and forget about the recording equipment. When you finish working on the performance portion of your routine, stop the recording and review.

Start at the beginning of the recording and make notes about what you like and what you want to improve. This can be quite an awakening for someone who has never listened to their own playing before. By making this a regular part of your practice routine, you gain another valuable perspective on your playing.

If you’re playing with other musicians, try recording your rehearsals and performances. This will allow you to review your performance skills with the necessary scrutiny.

Label the recordings with the date and possibly the content and save them so you have the ability to refer back to them and track your progress over time.

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