Developing skill and confidence in producing quality recordings is essential for musicians. With a few simple techniques and regular practice, recording quality will improve dramatically.
Record Daily Practice
Current technology (cell phone/computer/web camera) makes recording easy, so make a habit of turning on the microphone each time you practice. It’s as easy as pushing a button, and after the initial shock of hearing your own sound played back without edits or enhancement, accuracy improves with each recorded practice session.
Listen to Your Recording
With the score available, carefully listen to your recording for accuracy of notes, rhythms, dynamics, intonation and other details. Mark inaccuracies on the score as you listen, then listen to the recording again to confirm observations.
Record the Same Selection Again
Record your music a second time. Be sure to play from the marked score, concentrating carefully on the inaccuracies and required corrections for improvement.
Listen to the New Recording
Note the changes you made to notes, rhythms, dynamics and intonation in your new recording and compare it to the previously marked score. When listening this time, focus on tone quality, phrasing, vibrato, attacks, releases and breath control. Listen for noisy breaths, disruptive breaths that disturb phrasing or awkward breaths that take too long and interrupt rhythmic flow.
With careful attention to all previous corrections, record your piece again, listening particularly to the elements of tone quality, phrasing, musical flow and confidence. For improved tone quality and phrasing, maintain consistent air speed, forward direction and energy throughout the selection. Make recording a daily habit. With a disciplined approach, the quality of your recordings will improve dramatically.
About the Author
Mary Karen Clardy, professor of flute at the University of North Texas in Denton, appears as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America. A renowned author, Mary has published more than 10 books from European American Music, Leduc, Schott and Universal Edition. Her students are consistent prizewinners in international competitions and occupy prominent orchestral and faculty positions throughout the world. Visit www.mkclardy.com.