Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Musicians & Singers: The Importance of Recording Yourself

Why should you record yourself?  Obviously, to see what you really sound like, e.g. what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right.  It is easy to fool yourself into believing you are the next Jaco Pastorius, or if you are a singer, the next Mel Torme.  You aren't hearing the actual sound, you are hearing the sound in your head, which unfortunately, is not the sound the audience hears.  We've all seen those comical clips of singers trying out for American Idol, thinking they are really killing it, but blowing it so badly that it's embarrassing.  Poor souls.  Don't be one of them.

A few months ago I purchased a Handy H5 Zoom Recorder from Sweetwater.  This is a hand-held recorder that does a great job of recording live performances and practices.  All I do is turn it on and lay it down somewhere, and after practice I turn it off.  The micro disc then goes into my laptop, where I download and analyze the recording.

I use the free program Audacity to separate each song from the larger recording, and then I export each separate song into its own MP3 file.  These can be uploaded to Yourlisten.com or sent to band members via dropbox, or even emailed if not too large.

The first time I recorded my bass playing, I was appalled.  This was several years ago.  I learned that I was not hitting each note right on the head.  There was a slight delay.  This was because I was listening to the band and searching for the right note to play.  You can't search, you have to know what note you are going to play.  I don't mean you should memorize the bassline, necessarily.  If you know the song thoroughly, you can improvise and still be on the beat.  Now I concentrate on hitting the note right on the beat.  It sounds much better.

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