For the new violinist, modern life brings more competition for practice time than at any point in history. We are perpetually plugged in, and our devices beep and buzz incessantly to remind us that no matter where we are, we could be connecting with someone else, someplace else. The dilution of attention can lead to a similar dilution of the quality of our practice time.
Fortunately, technology can have the opposite effect if we use it to our advantage. There is a simple way to leverage the tremendous advances in home computing over the last decade in order to dramatically improve the rate of improvement we enjoy in our playing, whether we’re learning from a live instructor or taking advantage of the convenience of online violin lessons. That method is to simply record violin practice sessions with any of a wide variety of available audio recording software products available today, then immediately review our playing.
Apple’s Garage Band comes free with each new Mac, and there are other products ranging from rudimentary to outrageously complex (yet remarkably user-friendly): Image Line’s FL Studio 9, Apple’s Logic Express or Logic Studio, and Digidesign’s Pro Tools HD with MBox 2 audio interface are just a few of the available options. Which product you choose depends more on personal preference than anything else, as most are more than satisfactory to achieve a decent quality recording to help you improve your playing.
When you review your recorded performance, do so with the intention of celebrating the well played passages first. Listen to how good you sound, and appreciate how beautifully your instrument sings. Notice when you’re perfectly in time and in tune, and be sure to experience satisfaction for your efforts. This is the motivation you’ll need to continue in the long run.
Only after you’ve appreciated your successful passages should you acknowledge the areas you can improve upon, then begin to practice those parts immediately. You’ll notice rapid improvement in your violin playing using the power of home recording software.