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Catch Your Pulse

Honestly, as you can imagine, it really isn't all that fun directing yourself, running back and forth to the monitors to see if you're terrible or not. - George Clooney

In my last post, I discussed ways to make the most of the summer period and strongly encouraged students to embrace and incorporate technology into their practicing arsenal. One of the best way to ensure monitoring and accelerate progress is by recording yourself.

A recording gives you an honest (sometimes painfully brutal!) account of the situation. Like a stethoscope, it enhances and brings crucial elements to the surface, giving a better reading of the pulse of the music. By paying close attention to all the small details (sound quality, intonation, phrasing, rhythm, etc.) and by trying to close the gap between one’s ideal conception and actual rendition of a work, one can progress really fast.

I find that recording myself, as unpleasant as it may be, is a great way to “check my pulse,” to get a clear idea of what is really happening. Like an ear workout, it refines my listening skills and my reflexes and speeds up my “mind to finger” process. Of course, we always (ideally!) listen to ourselves while we play, but we are actually so busy doing stuff that we can miss a lot of the information that passes through our ears. Recording myself helps me identify the problems faster and allows me to notice elements which might have eluded my awareness.