Day 14: Pull it apart and work note by note

I recorded a portion of my playing today. My intention was to listen to my tone quality as I pulled a scale apart to focus on a cluster of notes (F Major in 3rds). I was surprised to notice my tonguing was sloppy. It was so easily heard, but I didn’t know I was doing it. To be aware of our limitations, we must be brutally honest with ourselves. Recordings can be a powerful tool.

While I was listening back to the recording I remembered a great article on bulletproofmusician.com about two different listening modes and the importance of recording yourself. The two modes are conceiving mode, when you are creating, and evaluating mode. Creating music is a complex task and we need to concentrate fully when performing. Play and record yourself. Stop and listen to yourself.  Each action gets full attention at a specific point in time.

I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t want to get bogged down with some app that was tedious to use. But I found a simple-to-use app called “HI-Q MP3 Voice Recorder (free)” on Google Play. I simply hit the record button and then the stop button. The app automatically names the file with the day’s time and date. When I start recording I introduce what I’m going to play and then I just get on with it.

I made a note of the recordings in my Comeback Journal and will revisit the recordings in a few weeks time for a “then & now” comparison.

Day 7: Retrospective (Expectations and Practice)

I’ve stopped expecting improvement during each practice/playing session. Playing a musical instrument relies on cumulative effort and I realize that “day by day, I’m getting stronger in every way.”

Daily effort is important in all worthy goals/missions, but that effort needs to be deliberate. Deliberate practice is structures and each playing session is begun with a set of goals. Throughout practice I test things out. Dr. Noa Kageyama of bulletproofmusician.com has an excellent article on what deliberate practice is and isn’t.