Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Email Question: Recording Yourself While Practicing

Dear Stephen,

My name is Nathan. I'm actually a student of your old teacher, Jeff Mills. He referred me to your website a few years ago and it's great! I had a question about practicing and recording: I've been working a lot out of Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials and would really like to know what I sound like when I play. Not only that, but Jeff and Tommy both advise recording yourself when you play along. The problem is, I don't have anything to record myself with and have no idea what I should buy in order to do so. Got any advice for someone on a college student's budget?

Also, my little practice room has terrible sound quality. It's like all the sounds bounce around off of each other and it's just a giant sonic mess in there when I play. Do I need to invest in soundproofing or sound absorption? Any advice on that?

Thanks a whole lot for your time!

Best wishes,
Nathan Coumbe

What's up Nathan...

Thanks so much for the email bro! And if you're with Jeff, you're in GREAT hands. Such a talented guy!

Recording yourself...YESSSSSS!!!!! Lol, it's an absolute necessity. It doesn't have to be a perfect recording, just a simple recording. You can buy a camera like this one, http://www.theflip.com/en-us/Products/mino.aspx , or something similar and that will work. All you're wanting to do is capture the sounds, they don't have to actually be sonically great sounds. That being said, the Flips don't have that bad of sound for what they are. The added bonus of recording yourself with a camcorder would be that you can also SEE yourself play and correct any technique or posture issues. I used to have a mirror beside my kit so I could watch myself play and adjust as needed. If you have an iPhone, you could just use the video phone and record yourself. It doesn't have to be great, just needs to give you an idea of your playing and what you need to work on. I'm a big fan of just using whatever you already have that will get the job done (it's what I've done for years).

As far as the sound of your room...simple answer, yes. Here's a few links that will help out.

A before sound treatment and after of my studio. I only used the mic from the camera to capture the sound... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6PMchgv2C4 . I made all of the bass traps in my studio, and only used acoustical foam on one wall to cut down on my costs.

Here's a couple of blog posts I did on the topic...



Hope that helps bro! Let me know if you have other questions. Sorry it took me a hot minute to swing back at ya.



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