Recording practice is an excellent way to evaluate what needs to be practiced. We often hear mistakes in recordings we didn't know were there when playing. A mobile phone can be used for a quick evaluation, but if you want something of a little higher quality you will need to use your computer or a stand-alone hardware recorder for recording practice sessions.
Mac users need look no further than the amazing GarageBand included with the Apple operating system. I still can't quite believe this comes free with the computer! You would have needed to be in a $1000 a day recording studio for features like this just 20 years ago! If you have an iMac that isn't near your practice room you might have to move to it, or move it into your practice room. If you have a MacBook or a MacBook Pro just open GarageBand, hit record and the built in microphone does the rest. You can even export your recording to iTunes for your iPod or burn it to CD for reviewing later.
Apple's latest incarnation, Garageband 09 even has built in piano and guitar beginners lessons to follow. The good news is these subscribe to the Essential Music Practice philosophy of dividing work into small sections and working on the sections you can't play. There are also artist lessons for learning songs from the likes of Sting, Ben Folds, One Republic, Norah Jones and Sarah Bareilles!
There have been questions in various GarageBand forums on a similar
program for Windows since GarageBand arrived. There was even some
'unreported sources' blogs about a program Microsoft was developing
called Monaco to rival Apple´s GarageBand. Here are two links to message
boards that go some way towards answering this question. This is about Monaco. A shareware alternative is mixcraft from Acoustica. You can also try Sony for their version of Acid
Remember these are for recording for review, not a studio CD release.
You are listening to hear your mistakes, not erase them!
For more convenience and often better sound quality, you may want to look at a digital audio recorder for recording your practice. Click here to read about using digital audio recorders for music practice.
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