5 Reasons to Record Practice Sessions

Jun 28, 2023

Sometimes practicing your instrument can feel boring, and you may not feel like you’re advancing. So, if you’re like us, you’re always on the lookout for new ways to take your practice sessions to the next level! With that in mind, have you started to record practice sessions yet?

You’ve probably had more than one music teacher offer this suggestion in the past – and if you haven’t listened yet, now’s the time.

Without the ability to hear yourself, you’ll struggle to perform to the standards of professionals and have a hard time solving problems. Luckily, you always have a powerful digital recording device on you; your phone!

Check out these 5 top reasons it’s a good idea to record practice sessions.

Why You Should Record Practice

Make Your Playing Easier to Analyze

It’s hard to really know what you sound like when you’re practicing. You’ve got so many other things on your mind, like hitting the right notes and using proper technique, how can you be expected to analyze the sound too?

This is, of course, the most obvious benefit of recording practice sessions, and gives the fastest results. With a recording, you can start to analyze yourself immediately! When you first start, try using a nice and loud metronome, and simply play. As soon as you’ve gone through your exercise, song, or solo, sit back and give it a listen.

Right away you’ll be able to hear where you’ve rushed, where you dragged, and where you’ve simply been out of sync with the metronome. Use a journal to make a note of this, and try again.

Compare Your Performance With the Greats

Let’s say you’re working on a new song. Maybe you’re trying to play like someone in particular. With a record of yourself playing, you can easily compare your performance to whomever you’re trying to emulate. Try these different ways to use a recording to mimic your favourite musician’s style:

Using a Backing Track

If you have even a small recording setup, you should be able to find backing tracks with a simple internet search and import them into your digital audio workstation (or DAW).

With this simple setup, you can play along and then compare your playing to whoever you’re trying to mimic.

Using EQ to Play Along With a Band

This one is a little more complicated, requiring some audio knowledge, and works better for some instruments than others, but you can work with the EQ (or Equalizer) to carve out an instrument, and then record yourself playing with the band.

Bass tends to be the easiest instrument fort this; you can take out everything below 200 Hz and just play along with the band.

Make Your Tendencies More Obvious

As you start to get into the habit of recording practice, your musical tendencies will start to become obvious. At first, you probably won’t notice those little bad habits, or at least you won’t realize they’re bad habits – not simply mistakes.

But over time, and with the ability to hear yourself, you’ll start to notice tendencies in your playing on a smaller and smaller scale. Right down to different ways of playing subdivisions and swing and the tiniest deviations. And you can start to fix those little nagging problems.

Develop a More Critical Ear

One of the biggest (and somewhat unintentional) bonuses of using recordings as a practice tool is the critical ear that you’ll develop from constantly listening to and evaluating your own playing. Having a critical ear helps you record professionally in the studio, as well as helps you to play live with all kinds of different musicians.

When you can hear someone’s tendency to rush or drag, or what-have you, you can play with them, rather than musically fight with them on stage. You’ll see the nuances that make them great musicians, and eventually, you’ll develop those same nuances as you build your skill set.

A critical ear is also an advantage in the recording studio. The ability to quickly tell if something is out of tune, or right in the pocket will make the whole process easier and faster, leaving you with a great-sounding recording!

Develop Your Recording Skills

Lastly, recording practice sessions helps develop your recording skill, which is an increasingly important thing for musicians to do these days.

Even if you’re just starting with recording yourself, and only using your phone, you’re on the right track! Before long you might upgrade to a small, two-channel interface and start playing around with GarageBand. From there it’s not a far jump into a full-blown home studio with acoustic treatment, studio monitors, a wide variety of mics, a decent computer, and a 16-channel interface! While it can be a slippery slope, if you hope to do any professional recording, improving your engineering skills is a must!

Get Started Now!

Whether you know it or not, you’ve already got a way to record practice! If you have a Mac, you already have GarageBand. If you’re a PC person, then getting Audacity or Reaper is a breeze. Or if all you’ve got is a phone, there are plenty of free apps for either Android or iPhone.

As soon as you get started, you’ll get addicted to the progress you’ll make. So what are you waiting for? Get to it!

For more practice and performance tips, check out our blog! And if you’re looking for a new place to help you grow and explore your musical talent, look no further tan the professional instructors at The Music Studio! Check out all our programs and sign up today!