Musicians of all types can benefit from recording their music. The beginning banjo, guitar or mandolin student may cringe at the idea of listening to themselves on tape. It is sort of like listening to your own voice, which I think the majority of us can agree, is not the most enjoyable experience.
What are some of the benefits of recording your music and your practice sessions? First, when you play music (especially when performing on stage), it is very difficult to ascertain what exactly the audience hears. You may be playing too soft or too loud. Maybe your rhythm is not precise or maybe you speed up your lead play in the middle of a song. The benefits of hearing what you previously played can be many. Through recordings, you can hear what you play and work towards improving your skills.
Should beginners voluntarily or involuntarily be recorded? Some teachers use recordings of recitals as a learning tool. This debate to record or not record, however, can be a source of aggravation with a classroom of students. For instance, one of my classes had an experience where they were recorded by another student without their knowledge. Some of these beginning students felt uncomfortable after being recorded, especially when I thought it would be a good idea to have each student subsequently critique their particular song. So, even teachers can learn from the experiences of their own students.
While I see a value in recording audio and even video of your own music, the classroom session may not be the best place to do it. After all, the goal of the teacher should be to encourage and not to discourage beginners; some of who have a difficult time adjusting to performing in public. While it may be beneficial, not all students want to to be exposed to being recorded at the early stage of their development as a musician. Yet, I would never disregard the benefit of using recordings to learn.
As an experienced musician and teacher, I place a value on recording lessons to benefit my students.
This is the first of a series of blogs I plan on running, regarding the process of recording music. In the future, I will be discussing a variety of issues such as portable recording, private and group audio and video production, instructional recordings, technology and equipment, and the process of building a home recording studio. As each issue is separately addressed, I encourage readers to post their experiences with recording music. Remember, many readers can learn from your successes as well as your failures.