Rob Knopper: On Overcoming the Fear of Recording Yourself (and Making It Your New Favorite Practice Tool)
By Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.
Once upon a time, my kids would practically beg me to videotape them in action. Whether it was slurping noodles in slow motion, jumping off the couch onto bubble wrap, or rocking out to AC/DC, they seemed to be endlessly captivated by the magic of seeing themselves on-screen.
Fast-forward a few years, and my videography game now needs to be at crazy ninja-like levels of stealth if I want to have any hope of capturing them on film.
I can’t blame them of course, as I wasn’t any different. Especially when it came to recording myself in the practice room or on stage.
Indeed, most of us have been told to record ourselves at some point or another. And on some level, I think we know and agree – at least in theory – that it would be a helpful thing to do.
But, um…why is it again that we should record?
Because…what exactly does it do anyway?
And what does it mean if all recording seems to be good for is making us feel like giving up and scraping the bottom of the barrel of our Netflix queue instead? Are we missing something, or doing it wrong?
Meet Rob Knopper
Rob Knopper is a percussionist in the Met Opera Orchestra, and has been writing about the audition process for several years now (at auditionhacker.com). He wasn’t always a proponent of recording, but had an experience in college that totally changed how he felt about recording.
So if you’ve ever struggled to make recording work for you, and want to be able to incorporate this useful tool into your practicing toolbox, I hope you’ll feel differently about recording after listening to this week’s conversation!
In this 30-minute chat, we’ll talk about:
Why his first attempt at recording was a big fail in high school
What changed in college when he tried it again
The various methods and purposes of recording, and why it’s important to find one that fits you (for instance, is it best to listen back right away? Or wait a day so your ears are fresher?)
How to eliminate the overwhelm you feel after listening back to a recording
When to record audio only, and when video might be better
The biggest mistake we often make when recording for the first time
Subscribe to the weekly “audio edition” via iTunes
And for more details and tips on creating a recording workflow, including equipment recommendations, here’s Rob’s 3-part series on the nuts and bolts of self-recording:
Aside from the practical problem-solving benefits of recording, there are some really meaningful psychological reasons for recording too. Especially when it comes to cultivating the kind of focus and “performance mode” mindset that is necessary to get get the critic in your head to quiet down when you’re on stage. And get into that awesome place where you’re able to be fully engaged in the music, let go, and play more freely under pressure.
All of which we’ll work on in the live, online 8-week audition bootcamp that Rob and I are teaching this summer.
You’ll take part in weekly group sessions, complete homework assignments, and learn practice techniques, audition strategies, and mental skills that will help you go into your next audition or performance feeling secure, and ready to play more like yourself.
The first live session is Thursday, May 31st, and registration is open from TODAY (Sunday, 5/20) through Sunday, 5/27 at 11:59pm Eastern time.
Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.
After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?
It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.
Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.
Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.