Why You Should Always Record Your Band Practice
I come across a lot of bands, and it never ceases to amaze me how few of them are recording their practice sessions. In fact, when I suggest it to some musicians they are almost bemused by the idea of recording something that traditionally isn’t meant to be recorded. Surely the practice is where you perfect your sound before recording? Well, I’m here to tell you that recording band practices changed everything for my music career, and the benefits span far further than I would have imagined.
1. You might not be very good. No band wants to hear it, but you can get caught up in a rehearsal and start to think you’re the next Rolling Stones, realistically, when you listen back, you might spot mistakes that weren’t obvious when you listened live. It is amazing what you can miss when you’re focussed on what you are doing.
2. You might improvise something great. There’s always the chance of ‘happy accidents’ during any live performance or practice. You may change a solo or even make a mistake that ends up sounding wonderful, the chances are without a recording you won’t be able to remember what you did. If you have a recording you can simply go back and reconstruct whatever you did.
3. Learning through listening. Much like a sports person can visualise their golf swing or other techniques to stimulate muscle memory and effectively practice anywhere, listening back to that new song you’ve been working on can help to make you even more familiar with it. It can’t hurt to know all of the songs you may end up playing fantastically well, and even just listening back to the practice can help you to learn.
4. Trying new things. This is another benefit of having a recording every time you practice. If you know you’re doing it, you can experiment. Try out new arrangements, even guitar effects and percussion knowing that you can make a decision on what works best for the song after you’ve finished.
5. Sharing. If you ever need a new band member, or just want to show your friends what you’re getting up to, the best way they can get to know your songs is through a recording. The quality we can record has come a long way, and even a simple USB microphone plugged into a laptop, iPad or even phone can give a good idea of what your song sounds like, from there it is very easy to put the recording on dropbox or start to share it on social networks.
In an ideal world, we would all be rehearsing in fully kitted out recording studios, with a microphone on every instrument, that way if you happen to do your best take of a song, you can keep it and not have to worry about it being recorded on a phone in someone’s garage. That said, even the most simple recording can have a huge amount of benefits for every member of your band, and a catalog of your recordings can show the progress you’re making.