Tips for a Successful Recording Experience

May 8, 2020

Kyle Peters imageWritten by Kyle Peters, percussion instructor

With juries right around the corner, many students will start the recording process. For those of you who have not recorded before, here are some helpful tips for a smooth and successful recording session.


1. Start recording yourself now!

Playing in front of a recording device can be a challenge. Start recording yourself a couple times a week leading up to the Jury. When it is time to record your Jury, you will be comfortable with the process – how to get the video started, where to stand, etc. This will allow you time to get the sound, camera angle, and set up correct before hand. Feeling comfortable with this process will allow you to put all of your energy into the music the day of the Jury.

2. Listen to your mock recordings.

      You can learn a lot about your playing when listening to your recordings. When you listen to your recordings multiple times, you can focus on the following:

1st time: Phrasing – is my phrasing clear to the listener?

2nd time: Dynamics – are all my dynamics being played correctly?

3rd time: Articulation – are my articulations clear?

4th time: Intonation – what are my tendencies on certain notes?

Use what you have learned from listening during your practice session. The recording/listening process is a beneficial technique that allows musicians to be efficient when practicing. This will allow you to be as prepared as possible before a lesson or performance.

3. Aim for Musicality.

You can easily frustrate yourself if you are focused on just playing accurately for the recording. Focusing on just the notes will lead to a bland interpretation in your performance. Always play musically. I tell my students, “I don’t mind wrong notes as long as your musicality always remains clear.” This will lead to a natural and enjoyable performance for both you and the listener.  Always aim for musicality.

4. Let mistakes happen.

Understand that when recording a piece, mistakes will happen and that’s OK. When you hit record, play the piece from start to finish and assess the recording later. Aim for a performance you are happy with. What matters most is the emotion and musicality you put into the music.

5. Listen to your recordings a day later.

To best represent the Jury process, challenge yourself to only record once! With the proper preparation, you will not need to spend a full day recording. After you have recorded all of your selections, do not listen to them right away.

No matter how many times you do a live recording, you will find sections that you would have done differently. Waiting a day allows time for your brain to rest and not focus on glitches from the day before. If you think you should record again, I recommend only to record yourself a maximum of three times then pick your favorite of the three recordings.


The Faculty at ECMS is looking forward to hearing your Juries. Have an enjoyable experience and learn from this process!