Who Actually Records Themselves?
Many of my students don't record themselves because they're afraid of hearing what they actually sound like. And yet, it's by far one of the best ways of improving one's playing, especially with the easy access to immediate recording that modern technology provides.
Anyways, since I was perplexed by this, I was wondering how many other people also refuse to records themselves - despite the obvious benefits - because they are afraid of getting discouraged?
I record myself. I can't always afford my lessons and so it's my most consistent and reliable source of feedback.
I tried it before and was absolutely disgusted by my own playing. I recognize the benefit of recording yourself, but I don't do it myself so I will continue to play this instrument. I would be very grateful if anyone who has this problem can share how do they overcome it.
I routinely record myself. In general, I sound like I expect to sound. Recording helps me catch things that i don't hear in real time, but the issues themselves generally don't surprise me per se.
I have been lately with the viola, as I am teaching myself on the viola (have grown up playing violin). I find recording my self on the viola, I can hear where the intonation needs work, or the bow strokes are inconsistent. That way I can focus my practise on the areas that really need the work.
I routinely record myself. I've gone without lessons for most of the time I've played and currently have difficulty scheduling them in my area (may have to resort to Skype), so this has been my main source of feedback for quite a while.
What Sivrit said.
I have recorded myself, but found that before I had worked on tone-production, it sounded the same on the recording as it did to my ear.
I record myself. I'm no longer a student with a teacher, and this routine of self-recording is, to me, the next-best thing, for now, to having a teacher. In listening to playback, I find myself catching little details that a teacher might point out in a lesson:
Yeah I record myself but not very often. I should do it more. The thing is, it takes time. Time to set it up, time to review it, etc.
I have started recording myself. I had to put socks over my condenser mics because they are too sensitive in my small practice room.Please keep in mind I'm still a beginner. My actual time playing(about 3 years)is in actuality probably 2 years for someone who had more time to practice.I subtract a year for working full time ha.
Me too. I found myself subconsciously neglecting occassional intonation problems to please myself. Recording confronts me with the truth.
Our brain can only hold on to about 3 "mistakes" in which the outcome was not as intended, maybe the shape of a phrase, intonation on a particular note, or even the style of vibrato. I think there are two main reasons for self recording. One is to pick up all the little nuanced things for improvement. But I think more importantly, it allows you to have performance practice. Playing through the piece without mentally holding onto the "mistakes" and getting back to focusing on the moment, allowing ourselves the opportunity to get out of the criticizing mode and into the music and art making mode. Then going back and listening with a critical ear. Sometime the things we think are a big deal are actually not the biggest issues we should attack first. So recording can do a lot to make practice time more efficient.
Unless David Krakovich can prove otherwise I lay claim to being the most recorded violinist on the internet! Not for the purpose of showing off or improving my technique (well past saving) but in order to give exposure to otherwise unrecorded string string chamber works
I record myself pretty much only before performances (although I should probably do it more often). I find it a really great way to find mistakes and ways to improve.
I record myself constantly because I had become too reliant on using a tuner when playing anything at all. The main reason is a total lack of confidence in my ability to discern if I'm in tune or not. Therefore to break the tuner habit I started recording myself instead.
Just a few questions for those who regularly record their practice:
I record myself now, but there was an activation energy hump to get over. When I first recorded myself I was appalled and hated what I heard. I think this is a common experience.
1. When I am troubleshooting a passage and just need to hear it, I do audio only. (VoiceRecord Pro is my app.) If I am preserving my playing for some reason -- for instance, to track progress -- I take a video. If I am trying to visually diagnose what's going wrong, I'm more likely to use a mirror.
@Sivrit Mizael - Answers to your questions about recording practice:
@Timothy Smith, I watched your second video. Thanks for sharing that fun tune. Do you learn your tunes entirely by ear? I ask because you seem to be looking at your left hand while playing. You don't need to watch your left hand to put your finger in the right places. The reason I think this is important is because your head is turned so that your chin is over your chin rest. See if you can straighten out your head so that your chin rest is underneath the left side (say, 10-o-clock position) of your lower jaw. This in turn might help you hold your violin more securely -- ideally with just the weight of your head and not by straining your neck. And in turn this could enable you to free up your left thumb which is presently gripping over the top of your fingerboard. It would be better if your left hand were dropped down just a little and the thumb came alongside and a little underneath the neck rather than where it is now. How do you reach the notes if your left hand is lower? The answer is that you rotate your elbow underneath your violin some so that your wrist comes up and your hand comes up and over your finger board more. Your left wrist also should be straighter (palm should not be pointing straight up).
I don't record myself practicing. I know it's a weakness. I don't even listen to my spots that I did on commercial recordings. When I must listen to my play-back in the recording engineers' booth, I just want to give up-I sound so ordinary, mediocre, in the original french meaning of the word. I have never heard myself sing - I assume that my reaction would be even worse.
@Paul Deck, Thanks for those pointers.I appreciate your help. I seem to have developed a habit of positioning my head like that. I will do what you suggested. I usually look at the notation for a tune and listen to my teacher's interpretation of it. I then attempt to memorize it in a few days. Some tunes take take longer. The tunes are in my head mostly but they aren't translating correctly to my hands. So no, I don't look at notation when I play and I didn't realize I was specifically looking at my left hand. I admit I look a little "hunched" there.Thanks again.
I think my comments echo Lydia's. I don't spend a lot of time doing this because it takes no time, but I do record a lot of my practice of difficult sections. I mostly do audio only as I watch myself in a mirror when I practice anyway. I listen to the recordings and then delete them usually. These days I'm seldom surprised by what I hear, but doing this process keeps me honest. When I first started I was devastated by my sound (as so many are when they first do the same).
I record my playing. When playing, you can sometimes get so caught up with the motions, that you have issues monitoring the sound. Recording is good for you.
1. Do you record only the audio or you record video as well?
Hi everyone, new member here after more than 2 years of lurking :)
I recorded myself for a spell and hated it so much - the act of recording, the playback/review, everything about it. Unlike a lot of folks who find success recording themselves as a teaching tool, I found it to have the opposite effect on my playing (for example: I would find so many things to "fix" that I got overwhelmed and would lose motivation). So, now I only record myself to capture a moment in time for "nostalgia" and to check back for later progress. I think it depends on what is best for the individual in terms of how they work, think, approach learning, and so on.
FWIW I mostly record audio only using an app called Music Memos on the iPhone. It's great in the sense that you can set it to "Auto" so that it starts recording when it detects enough noise and stops when things go silent again. Makes multiple takes easy although if I'm using the metronome then I find I have to manually stop each take. It also makes it easy to copy it to Dropbox or the like to get it uploaded to my PC.
1. Do you record only the audio or you record video as well?
When recording engineers set up to record a violinist they'll typically position the microphone 2-3 feet above the instrument pointing at the f-holes. I decided to try that with my Tascam DR-07mkII, and what a difference! I bought a mic stand with a boom arm, and I monitor the sound through closed back headphones, at least while I'm setting up. This way the recorder gets a powerful audio signal, allowing the recording level to be dropped down which then eliminates room resonance and extraneous noise. Before I did this, I found the sound of my recordings to be insufferable. Now they sound virtually professional, with the same recorder. And when the recorder/microphone is correctly held I can easily move towards or away from it while listening through the headphones to find the sweet spot. It's amazing how much difference 12" can make. And you don't want it too close either, because it will sound shrill. Microphone distance and direction are CRITICAL for making pleasing recordings.
I record video of myself sometimes to check positioning and to see if I'm using my shoulder too much when I bow (I usually am). I also make a weekly video of myself playing something and post it to YouTube to monitor how I'm progressing.
I got over my issue of getting discouraged by my recording practice, especially early on in my studies by keeping a log and looking back from time to time to see it as a way to track progress too. That helps me stay motivated. Recording is an excellent way to improve however so absolutely worth it.
I record myself almost every day. It sucks but it can reveal things my ears don't (want to) pick up.
Timothy Smith, nice Sailors Bonnet!
This is the last one for awhile. I hope it encourages someone. Still a few kinks to work out, the video resolution seems to be too low. The mp4 is grainy. I ditched my condenser mics and strung a ribbon mic up high on a stand as shown.
I have tried recording myself for the violin, but soon got frustrated with sound quality, was it my playing ability and or the microphone or the placement of the microphone. Not to mention the high cost of a decent microphone. Then the trouble of the difference between what the player hears and what audience hears. So essentially gave up on the recording of an acoustic violin. Personally I would prefer a system that gives real time feed back of what it sounds like to the aduience. This has lead me to the disire to use an electric violin, you only hear what the audience hears and it is in real time, can be recorded and feed into a DAW. Perhaps I am going a bit off topic. But with other virtual instruments I record my self often and find it useful.
Since the thread is already sidetracked- sorry Erik, I guess it doesn't matter. I wanted to inquire of Adam Cole-Mullen what those numbers all mean? I can't make heads nor tails of it.
It's definitely not a notation anybody uses! I just needed a quick method to try to indicate slurs relative to the beats in the measure. If you're in cut time, then I imagine
Oh now I see. Thanks! I will look at my slurring and where you recommend it works best. This is actually a much more efficient way to see it IMO. I should have picked up on that, sorry.
It's probably the best anyone can do to improve their playing.
I believe that recording yourself is a good idea, but I doubt it's nearly as useful for beginners as for more advanced students. Someone who doesn't have an idea of what they want won't benefit as much from seeing how they actually play when they are trying to work basic technical stuff out as someone who has a good idea of how they want to sound but could use that more objective viewpoint to put them closer on track.
I'd agree with that assessment, christian. The most important trait to keep in a beginner is encouragement, and sometimes that means sacrificing a bit of honesty to keep their spirits up.
I already posted a response to this thread but I have a new perspective that I thought might be worth to share.
I use a Blue Snowball microphone which you can get for around $50 that does the job. It's meant for recording voice for YouTube commentary and things, but doesn't sound terrible with the violin. Or maybe it does. You be the judge... (Just ignore my poor intonation)
My "take" on a couple of comments from earlier replies:
@Jes K. I'm glad you stopped only reading and have begun to comment! Can you post the video or audio? If I can do it anyone can.
@Jim Hastings: thank you for the advice! The irony is...I knew about this from lurking constantly on this forum! My teacher told me 1 month before the recital that if I had time to learn the 2nd mvt I could then play it in addition to the 3rd. Considering they're part of a concerto, I didn't consider playing them out of a order. And I couldn't/wouldn't play the 1st movement: firstly, too many students at the recital to play a whole concerto, and secondly, I had practiced it for soooo long that I burned out and really didn't want to spend one more minute on it...
Thanks, Timothy and Malcolm, and yes, I've been playing violin for 3 weeks (when that video was taken, 4 weeks now). And also, yes, I've been a musician on other instruments (trombone, piano, drums, guitar, bass guitar) for 25 years off and on.
Prior to about November of last year, I rarely recorded myself practicing. I did record my lessons, more to record what the teacher was saying than what I was playing.