One of the most productive things you can do while practicing is to record yourself. Giving your full attention to listening to yourself will instantly show you areas that you’re going to want to work on.

But there’s a risk when you record yourself. There’s a risk that you’ll record yourself, and then listen back to find out if it was good or bad. Or to find out if you are, in the larger picture, a good or bad musician. This is not going to help you. Your job is not to decide if you sound good or bad. Your job is to play when it’s time to play, and practice when it’s time to practice. That job doesn’t change if you started playing today or if you’ve been playing your entire life.

So record yourself, and then find something to work on. Maybe your timing could use some attention. Maybe you aren’t getting the tone you’d like. There’s always something that you can devote some time to, but if you aren’t going to do the work to fix it then don’t bother identifying it.

Walk away from the practice room saying “I was honest about my weaknesses and put in some work on them.”

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