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David's Tip of the Day: Recording Private Lessons

David Barrett Admin's picture

If you do have the opportunity to work with a private music instructor, I highly recommend you record your lessons. I record the lessons for my students (using the Tascam DR-40) at School of the Blues. A student asked me to give him some thoughts of how to best use his recorded tracks from his lessons. I thought you might like to see this as well.

Purpose
The primary goal for a lesson recording is to give you a reference of “what did Dave say again?” or “What was I supposed to work on?” I can also use the recording to play small examples that you can practice to at home. It also allows me to go into greater depth than I probably should sometimes, knowing that you have a recording that can be listened to over and over as you “get it.”

After the Lesson
The first step after the lesson is to upload the recordings to your computer and relabel the files in order of lesson and tracks within that lesson (Example: T1 Lesson 2014 02 16). Listen to the entire recording and make notes with time code on areas to focus on (Example: T1 - Work on bending lick 2 2” 1 2 2” 1 each day as warmup). You’re not practicing with the recording yet, this is just organizing what you’re to practice over the following two weeks.

Practice
Review your quick sheet of notes from past lesson each day and spend time on those areas. Make notes on that same sheet to ask questions from the last lesson to me at our next lesson. Reminder, practice should generally be separated in this manner…

5m - Daily Exercises
10m - Technique (something that’s very challenging)
30m - Study Song
15m - Chorus Forms (this is where you take a lick from the song you’re studying and play it as AAA, AAA w/fills, AAB, AAB w/fills, A B/A C, etc. with a jam track) For students still in their first couple years of study this may be impractical, but if you’ve been playing longer than this, Chorus Forms should be a firm part of your daily practice (those that do develop improvising skills much faster)

Before next Lesson
Review the practice elements (especially if it was a busy week and not much practice time was available) and bring that sheet of questions to the lesson