In a previous post, Music recordings, I wrote about the benefits of recording yourself during your practice. Have you tried it so far? How is it working for you? For me, it has really become part of my daily practice. Not that I record myself every day (!) but it has become one of the tools I like to use to practice. Like I use a tuner to control the pitch, a metronome to control the tempo and rhythm, I record myself to check how I sound. Or just to do a run-through.
In addition to my previous post, I’d like to add here a few tips to go further.
Play with yourself
I must confess I love to use the overdub function and play with myself. When you practice a duet, it is a very good way to learn both parts while carefully listening to what is happening. And it is also very good for the control of the pitch.
Here is an example of my experiments on the piece Takiochi Jibotan. There is no written rhythm so it is quite challenging to record it, but the echo effect you get is part of the beauty of piece.
If you like it, here is a playlist of what I have uploaded so far:
There is another way to record yourself, it’s the video recording. I can’t say enough that you should play shakuhachi with your entire body. So videotaping yourself can be an instructive way to see how you are using your body when you play. Looking back to yourself should be done in the same spirit as listening back to yourself. No need to beat you up and focus only on the flaw moments. Instead, try to have a positive and objective approach: what went well and what went not so well, what you like and what you would like to improve and how. Surprise yourself, challenge yourself, find your own solutions… And share your progresses, share your music.
Why not tape yourself in mouvement, walking like a komuso monk? How does it feel when you move around playing versus when you stand or sit?
Here is a short practice video of Hijiri-no-Shirabe, where I’m trying to walk as slowly as possible while keeping the music steady and the mouvement flowing. It demanded much control than I thought it would but it was fun to do.