Why All Musicians Should Record
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Within the past twenty years, recording music has become accessible to anyone: What was once expensive, time consuming, and required years of training, can now be accomplished with the smartphone in your pocket.
It still comes as a shock to me that most musicians I know are not actively and constantly recording themselves.
If you needed any more reason to, below is a list of my top reasons why musicians should be recording.
Get The Most Out Of Your Practice Sessions
We spend countless hours a day practicing. In bedrooms, garages, rehearsal spaces, everywhere. Recording your sessions can really maximize the time you spend honing your craft. You can listen to the specific techniques you are zeroing in on as a soloist, or get an idea for overall balance with your band.
By making daily or weekly recordings, you can track - in real time - the progress that you are making in your practice sessions. It is a great way to go back and listen to how far you have come while pinpointing your weak spots to really focus on for your next practice session.
If you add a video into these sessions, you can get really close angles on your embouchure, hand positions, and other technical aspects that you may be forgetting about. Mirrors are great to practice with, but that just adds another thing to focus on. If you are recording, you can go into your practice session knowing that you will be able to view your performance later and make adjustments necessary.
Squash That ‘Mic Fright’
Everyone has suffered from stage fright at one point or another in their career. Part of becoming a performer is learning to get over it. But what about mic fright? I have seen it many times; A very accomplished musician gets extremely uncomfortable once they step into a recording session. It is that combination of having a microphone shoved in your face (or bell, or bow, or strings) and the idea that what you are about to do will be permanent.
By having experience and consistently recording, this becomes just another day at the office for you. That microphone is no longer your enemy, but just another weapon in your arsenal.
Compose Like You Live In The Future
Just because Beethoven could hear symphonies in his head doesn't mean you have to, or should be expected to. By recording your composition sessions, you no longer have to worry about writing down your idea before you forget it. You will have an audio copy of everything you have come up with to revisit in the future. Add a properly placed cell phone for video, and you can capture your hand positions to ensure nothing is lost!
You could take it a step further even and set up a simple loop station. If you have never recorded four part harmonies by yourself with a looper, you are missing out on one of the most fun things a musician can do. Plus, it is extremely fun to loop yourself and essentially play as a “solo ensemble!”
Be Prepared For Those Surprise Auditions
How many times have you been up in the middle of the night and found your absolute dream audition? You go to apply and they ask for an audio sample. You look and look, but the only samples you can find are from your junior year recital recorded on your friends iPhone.
How long ago was that recital? Does it accurately represent who you are as a musician today? Sure you can wait until the next day to go and record, but is that level of stress what you really want to be recording under? By having a consistent recording regiment with your practice and performances, you can have a library of every piece you have ever played that is high quality and up-to-date.
It's So Easy To Do
There is a reason that the music industry is being upended by independent artists. Everyone has access to high quality and affordable recording equipment. What would have taken a million-dollar recording studio can now be accomplished with a mic and laptop, and recorded nearly anywhere. You can get a simple microphone for your smartphone or your laptop. If you want to go the stand-alone route, handheld recorders are just as affordable and can offer more options and higher quality. If you are really committed to the art of recording, you can build a small studio, equipped and ready to rock out with whatever comes your way. The possibilities are endless!
To me, a musician who does not record is like a poet who does not write. You can be the best poet in the world, but if none of your works are preserved, how can you share your art with the world?
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