In Part 1 we talk about building a habit, Part 2 I mention staying inspired every day. No days off. If you love what you’re doing every day becomes natural. Part 3 I mention the importance of others. Next in Part 4, I talk about mindset, confidence and rhythm. Then Part 5 is on picking. Part 6 is on Emotions. and here is Part 7. (grow a pair) Part 8. (use your ear)
Part 9 – Recording
My oh my, recording, I thought I’d never d0 it. I thought this because I was trying to be perfect. See, I suffer from perfectionism. Don’t let this be you or it will be the end of you. I got out of that trap somehow and I’m glad I’m out. Perfectionism is a straight path to getting nothing done. Nowadays I get such joy from hearing myself progress.
Remember cassette tapes?
They sounded warm. You had to rewind them. You couldn’t make mistakes. Those were the good old days. Now you can fix and edit music till your blue in the face and it still probably won’t sound great. I used to love those tapes. I had to let them go though, for more modern devices such as my iphone. Any phone will do. I’ve recorded on bad phones and now I’m recording on a good phone. Either way the important part is to record yourself.
Recording yourself is rewarding. You can always trash a recording. And you should, only after you’ve studied it and after you’ve recorded another take. This is important because I’ve deleted recordings with the intent of recording again and it never happens. Always record your 2nd, 3rd and 47th take if you have to, before you delete the bad takes.
You’re going to have bad takes. Theres nothing wrong with this. Just remember when you were a baby, you tried to walk and failed a bunch of times. Its the same here. You will have bad takes, but if you keep at it you will have great takes that give you joy. So much joy that its inspiring to listen to. It gives you hope. It gives you a sense of pride, progress and accomplishment.
Recording often will make you better
I got into recording myself because I wanted to hear what it sounded like. I wanted to know which parts sounded good and which ones didn’t. This way I could go back and perfect all those little parts that needed perfecting. I simply hit record on my phone and let her rip. Usually the first take will do. Every time I try to do a perfect take I end up bored, pissed off that I didn’t just accept the first take and that I need a ton more practice, and just simply exhausted. Perfectionism stinks.
I learned to let go of all that junk in my head and just let her rip. I focus on the good parts too. More so than the bad ones. The good parts of the recording leave me feeling inspired and ready to go again.
That perfectionist crap stinks, and leaves you fatigued. I had to accept that I needed to practice more and that I was not at the level I wanted to be at yet. This was, and is, the hardest thing to accept. But its also the BEST thing you can do for yourself. By doing this you are being honest. Honesty opens up the door for progress and new goals. Dishonesty will leave you in the mud, knee-deep and fighting for each step of the way.
Recording should make you feel free
Feeling free, and relaxed, I just give it a go. This recording that I do though, I do it when I already know the part, or the entire song, and sometimes even when I just kinda know it. The recording process puts a little pressure on me and makes me sharpen up and get the parts down tight. Tight. You want to sound tight. More on that later.
When I give it my all, like I did last night, I produce recordings that are so inspiring to me I cant even begin to tell you that this is one of the keys to getting songs done. I get so ecstatic when a good recording comes out, and even if there are bad parts, I focus on the good ones.
I then crank it in my car where no one else can hear me. This is crucial. In order for you to feel safe recording, you must know and feel that you do NOT have to show anyone. This is for your own personal use and pleasure.
I honestly have a blast listening to my compositions in the car. Yea, the recordings are from my phone (voice memos) but they’re there just to give me an idea of what the song sounds like and if it sounds the way I want it to sound.
Remember that these are just practice recordings.
Remembering this simple little fact is crucial as well. You are going to eventually get rid of these recordings. But not right away. I will suggest you sit with a recording and study it before you get rid of it.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you delete…
5 questions you should ask yourself about every recording (Highly suggested)
What is it EXACTLY that is wrong or sounds bad? Is it the 2nd verse, intro, outro, chorus, dynamics?
Were you not enunciating enough if you are a singer?
Was there no energy in your performance or was it full of energy?
Do you know the piece of music well enough to record it again before you practice it some more? You may have to practice some in between takes. This is totally fine. Maybe you should cut the length of the piece in half and see if you can play that well enough to record it if your recordings sound bad.
Lets take a riff for example and say that its pretty technical. You can do the first part well but the 2nd half of the riff is giving you trouble because of the picking maybe. You know you are going to have to work on this area so why not just record the first half. A lot of the times these short little recordings can be confidence boosters.
Do I even like what I’m recording? Maybe theres another piece that deserves more of your attention at this moment.
2 tips for recording yourself:
If you are scared to death of hearing yourself you simply need to grow a pair of balls. I say this because this is true for me and for lots of my students. Im not saying its going to be easy, I’m saying its going to be worth it. 🙂
LISTEN back to it…!!!
See you in part 10. Then comes the release of the book. The book will have the 20 or so elements of guitar you should be practicing or at least aware of so that you can practice them when the time comes. You do not NEED a teacher. You only need some grit. You can learn this instrument on your own. You gotta be determined and disciplined and you have to believe in yourself. Im here to tell you that you CAN. You CAN do this!
See you in part 10. Don’t forget to sign up for the release date and more details here.