Our ears often lie to us. Problems go undetected, we let ourselves get away with sloppy work, and we don't fully hear our sound while making it.
We need a second set of ears, and recording ourselves practicing can do the trick. Whether you use a recording walkman (many of them still in use and lovingly maintained), a mini-disc recorder, an ipod recording plugin, or a laptop recording directly to hard drive, there are many ways to record your work in the practice room.
Here is one way you can do it:
1. Record yourself in either a section of a work, the entire work, or the entire practice session.
2. Listen to what you recorded.
3. Decide what needs to be fixed and get deeper into your practice session.
Listening to a playback of a practice session can be quite disheartening at times. The way we sound when we're playing often differs from what shows up on a recording, with the benefit of a little distance from the source. We also tend to have a certain objectivity listening to others play that we don't always have in our own playing. Listening to ourselves on recording forces us to listen with that same audio-specific, objective set of ears and can open the door to new insight that can inform our next step in the practice room.
Next: Add to your Skills by Learning Theory