For my whole life, I have avoided recording myself. The first time I heard a recording of my voice, I was dismayed. Why didn’t it sound like the voices I was used to hearing on TV or the radio?
Likewise, throughout my trumpet-playing life, I have not really enjoyed listening to recordings of me playing the trumpet. Mistakes on these recordings pop out like a badge of shame, and I just didn’t want to face up to my mistakes. Of course, when I was young, personal recording devices were not that great. Nowadays, however, even though smart phones are definitely not studio quality, it is remarkable what they can capture. They can be a great practice tool.
Even as I write this post, I know I need to get more accustomed to recording myself. My Third Commandment is “Do the trumpet/musical thing that needs to be done as soon as possible”
And since there’s no time like the present, here’s a practice recording today of me working on the Gottfried Reiche “Abblasen” fanfare that was painted on his portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in 1727.
I’m trying to get this fanfare to sound both exciting and smooth, so as I progress over the next little while, I hope to post a recording that captures that vibe.
Here are some benefits to recording yourself during your practice:
- It’s an honest evaluation of what you sound like. You can be your own teacher. Maybe your best teacher.
- It’s almost like performing, so you get used to playing under that kind of mentality.
- If you stop to listen to the recording each time, then you add rest to your practice, and this enables your practice go longer and lets you sound fresh much longer. In addition, lots of breaks in a practice session can help you learn the material better
- If you’re using video, then you can see yourself and your facial expressions and body language, which may give you an idea of the emotions you’re feeling as you play. This may help you to unpack some emotions in a more mindful way. It may help you to learn to be less distracted.
- It will help you become less self-conscious, and, therefore, more confident. Happier.
The negatives of recording your practice :
- It makes you feel vulnerable.
- It takes time.
- It’s a pain.
Since this is supposed to relate to happiness, and since I think getting to be a better, more confident trumpeter by recording yourself is going in the right direction, I’ll leave you with this quote from Gretchen Rubin:
Happiness Doesn’t Always Make Us Feel Happy.
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