Recording: Why and how
This past semester I was working on material for my Masters audition and needed a way to improve and quickly. So I gave this little thing called recording a try. Throughout my schooling I would regularly hear my private teachers say, “Record yourself” as I am sure all of you have as well. And if you haven’t well here it is RECORD YOURSELF, but until recently I never really knew the benefits.
For you sports buffs out there, think about a golfer and how they evaluate their swing. They often take video so they can go back and analyze it to make sure it is proper and efficient. So why shouldn’t we be doing the same thing?
We know recording is beneficial but what do we do with the recording after it is taken? Well here is how I used recordings to improve my playing.
Step 1: I made sure to record myself daily. Now recording is just the first step. What do you do with it afterward? This leads us to Step 2: I found the best thing was to take that recording and analyze it. Analyze it for what you ask? Well the usual. 1. Rhythmic accuracy 2. Style 3. Technique 4. Artistry. Step 3: After this I would pick one of these to focus on improving. Let me say that again, improving not perfecting. We usually focus so much on perfection but in this field nothing will ever be perfect and perfection in my opinion should not be our goal. Now say from listening to your run you notice your articulation is not clear. Spend the next 10 min or so of your practice improving this aspect and then go to Step 4: which is recording it again. Step 5: Now when you listen to this second take was the articulation clearer? If so, go ahead and move on to another aspect of the piece repeating steps 1-4. If not keep working on it until there is improvement. And lastly Step 6: After improving your run, make sure to run it again later in the day to see if you can maintain those good moments.
By following these steps I guarantee you will see major improvement in your performance. Your ears will be opened up to things you cannot or did not hear while just running the piece. Also, having the evidence of the recordings will reassure whether an issue has improved or not.