Record your Banjo Playing and Become a Better Banjo Player – Part One.
Record yourself the next time you practice – start by recording one song. Pick a song that is very familiar and of course, a song you play well. After you have recorded your song you can listen back and study your performance. What can be learned from recording a banjo performance and giving it a good, close look? That’s what I ‘ll be discussing in this post, becoming a better banjo player by recording yourself.
The first thing you’ll need to do to record yourself is to have something to record yourself with. This recording device can be as simple as a cassette recorder or as sophisticated as a digital multi-track recorder. I have been using a free, open source program called Audacity. If you want to find out more about Audacity or download it, click the link – http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
If you want something more high tech, I’ve included a link to the Recording Equipment section at zZounds – Just click on the banner below.
Now that you have some options to record yourself, that’s the next step – record yourself. Should you record yourself once and live with the mistakes or record until you are satisfied with your performance? I think you should keep going until you are happy, not perfect, but a version you can live with. My reasoning is simple, if you listen back to a recording that isn’t as good as you thought it should have been, you can be discouraged. If you have to take three or four tries to get a good clean run, then that’s the way it is.
This is part of the learning process, mistakes are the markers that tell you – this needs practice, so pay attention and LEARN from your mistakes. If you play a song and get a third through it and make a fatal mistake and stop, you try again, but this time you are focused on this sticking point and have a higher chance of getting through it. Soon you have a good version of your song and at the same time you have had to bring your playing up to a higher level by cleaning up some rough spots in a song and holding yourself to a higher standard.
Record a song and have a listen to yourself playing the banjo – What is good? What could be improved? What is wrong, yes, wrong! – sometimes a recording points out a mistake like a wrong note. Don’t forget to make note of the things you like about this recording. That last point is VERY important – be kind to yourself and take time to be aware of the good stuff that you do. Well that’s step one, I’ll give you a few more of my thoughts on recording and using it to learn in an upcoming post.