Is it Possible to Enjoy Recordings of Yourself?
Even if I perfect something, my sound is far too "familiar" to enjoy. I'm not talking about intonation/phrasing errors. I'm talking about the point where - as far as I can tell - a piece of music is "finished" (and yes, I know there's a rabbit hole of nothing ever truly being finished).
I can still enjoy recordings of others playing the same piece, but my own sound will never seem novel to me (especially after I've practiced it to a high level), and even in a blind test I would recognize it immediately.
Does anyone else encounter this? Have you ever actually *wanted* to listen to your own recording of something?
I've had a few performance where I did as well or a little better than I thought I would do, and then I enjoy listening to those. For a time. My jazz quintet made a CD in 2012 and I enjoyed hearing that for a while but I've improved as a player and would like to record again.
The more time has passed, the more I'm likely to be able to say, "Oh, that wasn't so bad." But it's hard not to cringe, especially right after a performance.
I don't get much pleasure hearing myself play solo but I do enjoy many of my multitracks in which the nasty noises are less apparent, e.g. about 15 of me in Barber's Adagio...
Is it Possible to Enjoy Recordings of Yourself?
If I play well, then yes.
No, but I have found that some old, forgotten recordings were not as bad as I imagined! Even ones where I sang..
Not really. You listen so differently when it is yourself (or your kids). It's hard to pull back and listen holistically.
If you are anything like me you will listen for every flaw - and find them - especially if they are recordings of an actual performance. I had to get past that before I could listen for good things.
Adrian, yeah, I've read old essays and been surprised at how good they were, but thankfully I don't have any old recordings! And my voice is too adenoidal to be worth recording.
Hi, I am surprised by the other responses! I don’t listen to my recordings in order to enjoying them, of course, but I cannot remember a single performance of mine that got recorded which didn’t turn out to sound WAY better than I thought during playing.
I dislike listening to my recordings. To my ears I don't sound bad or wrong, just ordinary, only correct, and that is discouraging. For recording sessions, backgrounds on commercial stuff, I prefer to trust the director's or engineer's judgement. For singing, I assume that it would be worse. I trust my coach or the level of audience applause. I have never heard a recording of my singing. My cousin does professional voice-over work and impressions in LA. He tells me that Everyone hates the sound of their own voice.
That's very relatable, Joel. As you noted, I don't sound "bad or wrong", but rather ordinary. I really think it's that I hear my own "voice" all day long, so no matter how much I focus on making my playing distinct, I can never outrun the familiarity of my own sound.
My intonation always sounds worse when I hear a recording of myself. I hear myself more off key more often, and I've wondered about it- a LOT! When I sing it's the same thing- it always sounds better ringing around inside my head, and even though I've learned a lot how to use a mike better, it still never sounds as good to me than my own ears- maybe they're defective?
Nancy, I think a big part of that is that when you're listening to a recording, you can dedicate 100% of your brain to *just* listening. Thus, every mistake is heard. When you're playing, it's impossible to dedicate the same brain power to listening, even if you're trying.
Well, I don't really know that many players in person. So I resort to playing with a record of myself to make duos. It is quite fun at times.
One other factor that I think plays into this: when we're playing, we're necessarily thinking about what we
Also, I really think this feeds into the whole 'classical music perfectionism' thing. I do find it harder to listen to myself playing classical music than say, pop solos or folk. Often with classical, we're all trying to push ourselves to the next level of technical difficulty, and the next level, and then the next level. Don't forget to play 'easier' things from time to time!
Listening to my own recordings can be a source of modest enjoyment in two ways. "It's better than I thought it was", and "It's a little better than last time". It has two other benefits as well: it helps to identify the problem areas, and, most importantly, it enhances my appreciation of professional recordings, and of the dedication that must have gone into making them.
Normally I would say no, but last night I was recording myself into a looper pedal testing out a microphone and piezoelectric pickup to see which one I like better. The loop is nice because I could loop playing A vs B over and over to compare the two.
I think that there are multiple different mind states we can bring to our listening, and they all may have their time and place, but some can be counterproductive.
What Lydia said. I think though that to truly enjoy them you'd need recording of actual performance, not the ones taken in a practice session.
I think one has to listen to themselves play (or sing!) fairly often to even get past the cringe aspect. And even then, I record myself playing multiple times a day and still cannot enjoy the
I appreciate everyone's input.
I think recording yourself is the musicians equivalent of the mirror walls in the dance studio. Delayed instead of instant but personalized feedback.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.