The Importance of Recordings, and other things you have heard 1000+ times.

I have been told over and over and OVER again that I should record everything I play and listen to it in order to improve. I know I should.  I really do.

Then the thoughts go through my head: I don’t have time to listen back. I sound horrible on this-and-such phone/recorder. And then the ego kicks in–I can listen and play at the same time. I hear what I am doing wrong. People have been doing this for years without recording.

I played my jury yesterday. I know exactly how I “thought” it sounded in my head–the beautiful lyrical sections, the snappy staccato sections, clearly stated themes and phrasing and dynamics. I missed that note and that high note didn’t come out.

And then I listened to my jury recording. The dynamics were not coming through clearly, I didn’t wait long enough between phrases, my staccato section wasn’t as “staccato” as I felt it was, and well…it was a little flat, musically speaking. With my adrenaline going and the page in front of me, I felt like I was making music, but it did not translate to the recorder 15 feet away. Where my audience was.

What if I had recorded myself dozens of times and realized that before my jury? Why did I not take advantage of this wonderful tool I have available? This “time” I didn’t have–I certainly had enough time to listen to my jury in the car over and over and beat myself up about it. What if I had done that beforehand and had been able to over-exaggerate certain elements to make them come across more clearly?

I made an A. I’m not going to be too overly derogatory about my performance. But it could have been excellent instead of pretty good. That was my make-up jury from last semester; oral surgery delayed it until now.

So my jury that’s nine days from now? I’m going to record that over and over. I want to make sure I feel like I’m over-exaggerating everything so it comes across to the jury panel. I want an A for this semester, but I want to leave it all out on the stage, too, not just “play pretty well.” Recording will help me make sure it’s all coming across.

Yay for technology allowing us to overcome our egos and unreliable audial feedback!



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