My teacher told to me:

2) Find a way to record yourself.

Lots of my students have balked at this one. “I get nervous!” “It will sound bad!” etc. To me, those are reasons to record yourself. Unless you are able to play through long passages by memory, chances are good that you are too occupied with the actual task of making notes to be much of an observer. Quality of tone, rhythmic integrity (which doesn’t magically happen without a metronome), little idiosyncrasies and major technical blunders are much easier to observe after the fact. Have courage. Record yourself and take stock. Doing so regularly will keep you from ignoring things that other people can hear and will force you to do perhaps the hardest thing of all: recognize improvement.

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7 Responses

  1. Ah, will your gifts just keep getting better? This is a gem. The truth hurts, I know, but you have to know what you actually sound like to get any better.

  2. Ha ha! Don’t ignore the last sentence of this post. People in denial usually have perfectionist tendencies. Recording yourself will give you a better look at your progress, not just your flaws. Embrace both! The cello is nothing if not dynamic.

  3. Oh, I’ve got this one DOWN (I THINK) – reason being, my teacher insists I record each of our lessons! So when I’m MOST nervous (playing for him), I’m being recorded! I religiously play back each lesson, listen to myself, flaws and all, and use that as a springboard for the following weeks practise. Did I do good Emily?

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