Record Your Practice Sessions

I actually have a topic in mind today, and it’s relevant to what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. Go figure.

I’ve been saying for years - decades, really - that using a metronome when practicing any musical instrument is absolutely vital. Granted, some people have a better innate sense of rhythm than others, but I promise yours isn’t as good as you think. And, nothing will make it clearer than when you record yourself playing something to a metronome, drum machine, or some other device that keeps impeccable rhythm.

I’ve been recording myself in some way, shape or form since I was 16. I’ve owned two different Boss drum machines, and I used the hell out of them. Later, I used loop recordings made by actual human beings, and these days I use an amazing software drummer included with Logic Pro X. But, when I practice something new - original or cover - that gives me any trouble at all, I always use a metronome.

Over the weekend, I discovered I’m not quite ready to record a piece I’ve been working on for a few months. I didn’t figure it out until I listened to a few takes and heard exactly where I was having problems - and that’s my point. I thought I’d be able to knock this out in 4, maybe 5 takes.

Nope.

I’ll woodshed it some more during the week and give it another shot this Saturday, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I’m awfully glad I didn’t try and play this live, and I’m sure I’ve tried songs in front of people that weren’t ready. Probably not since my 20s though, and that’s because I listen to recordings before I play songs live - and I don’t mean just the recordings that get published. I mean practice sessions. Truly. You don’t know how good or bad your playing or singing is until you listen to a recording. The tape - or hard drive - probably doesn’t lie. There was a time when recording using a cassette player was spend up by cheap recorders, but that won’t happen if you do something as simple as using your smartphone. You don’t need fancy recording software or microphones; just use your phone. Listen to the recording, figure out where your mistakes are, and work on them.

Trust me. It will help. LOTS.

That’s it for now. Take care.

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