Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Recording is less stressful than performing in front of people -- in some ways. You can always do it over. But in other ways, it's more stressful because once done, it's there forever, especially if you post it on the Internet.

Chopin Nocturne Op. 27 No. 1, performed by me

I've had this deadline for a year now, so cramming to learn this is completely my fault -- or, I should say, choice. From time to time over this past year, I took this piece out and looked at it; thought, "How will I ever learn this?"; and put it away again. When you play on an amateur basis and you're not in school or doing a concert this is how it goes unless you can set some sort of goal. That's why these online recitals have been a great thing for me (and all the other people who participate).

I've learned a few things about doing this. One is if you are your own engineer, just hit the record button and keep going. Don't stop unless there is a total train wreck. Sometimes the take ends up better than you would have thought when you were playing it.

Another is that it's better not to listen until after the recording session is over, if you have the time to wait. I like to do at least three takes, get away from the piano, and try to listen objectively. This is instead of hovering over the recording device in the practice room, the piano glaring at you in the background, injured notes littering the floor.

And third, listen critically but not too critically. Cut yourself some slack. It's not as bad as you think it is (or even if it is, at least you tried).

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