Although we have recorded ourselves on video several times we have never tried to get a good sound recording. In the belief that we will only get better if we can really listen to ourselves when we are not playing - as opposed to the very different experience of listening while you are playing we had a go last night.
Thanks to Ed Sillars we had a go at making one last night. What surprised me was the amount of preparation time involved. Ed spent over 2 hours close microphoning all the instruments and testing out levels before the band arrived then another half an hour balancing. But once everything was set we worked for four hours and managed to record 10 songs. What was different to our usual practice was that this was performance involving a level of focus, concentration, self-awareness and self-critical analysis that significantly higher than practice situations. We also had feedback from Ed so that second and third recordings of the same song could be improved. We all found it both more tiring and more exhilarating than practicing and tempers got a bit frayed towards the end as we could see we were making mistakes because we were tiered.
Recording adds a new dimension to the pleasure of mastering a tune and creating a sound that you are proud.From a lifewide learning perspective the lessons reflect:
1) the importance of teamwork involving everyone who is playing and the person who is recording - creation is a collaborative effort
2) the importance of preparation in order to get a good performance - we had been practising several songs for four or five weeks and Ed's meticulous preparation before the session.
3) the value of technology in the hands of a skilful technician in the process of creation
4) the importance of feedback in order to improve something that is already pretty good
2 weeks later
I have just listed to Ed's recordings and they are great. The best I have ever heard the band and for the first time I can sit and listen to my own contribution. Members of the band are very happy with the results.
Here are a few examples