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#3159637 09/26/21 12:05 PM
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Hi all,

I'm trying to record myself playing for my teacher prior to lessons. I'm only thinking of music and not video.

The reason I try to record it rather than play live is performance anxiety. Alhough it's getting better I still find that when I play in front of my teacher I always make far more dumb mistakes than I would when I'm playing on my own. This happens even though my lessons are online.

I've tried using Audacity or a DAW to record onto my pc but found that this wasnt great as I use the computer for other things at the same time such as running a sheet music reader software and it got too complicated so am thinking about a hardware solution.

I'd like something that I can leave running in the background whenever I'm practicing to try and avoid the "red light fever" and then edit down to what I want to send on.

My current set up is that the output of my DP goes into a mixer, where I can add in a microphone, a drum machine or a line in from an mp3 player etc. One output from the mixer goes into the pc via an audio interface and an audio out from the pc goes back into the mixer (there's no issue with feedback).

I have a spare output from the mixer that I could send to a digital recorder and am thinking of a small Zoom or Tascam recorder or maybe something like a Boss BR80 multitrack recorder which seems to have a few other features that could be useful.

Does anyone do anything similar or have any suggestions?


I'd be a far better pianist if I spent the time I'm on this forum playing my piano instead.
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Originally Posted by AndyOnThePiano
The reason I try to record it rather than play live is performance anxiety. Alhough it's getting better I still find that when I play in front of my teacher I always make far more dumb mistakes than I would when I'm playing on my own.

First don't worry, that's perfectly normal. The goal of piano lessons is not to have a weekly recital session, but to work on the things you struggle with and don't even notice. The blatantly obvious mistakes are not why you play for a teacher, it's the little things you entirely miss, what teachers look for.

Second online lessons can make things worse in the PA department, recording yourself surely will. Going to offline lessons might actually improve things for you in the long term.


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Thanks Joe.

I appreciate your reply and accept what you're saying. The only problem is that face to face lessons aren't really an option as I live in a different country to my teacher 🙃.

It took me a long time to find a teacher that would focus on what I wanted rather than what they could provide.

We deal more with theory, jazz skills and the like, including developing a good ear, improv, transcriptions etc and I really don't want to have to train another one !


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Originally Posted by AndyOnThePiano
We deal more with theory, jazz skills and the like, including developing a good ear, improv, transcriptions etc

But this is exactly the stuff, which works much better in person including playing in a combo.


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Oh yes, I totally agree about the combo thing.

I am seriously thinking of trying to find a suitable combo, but where I live is very rural and jazz in any form wouldn't be a major interest around here .

In the meantime I try and amuse and distract myself with drum.loops, Band in a Box and iReal Pro. My drum machine is able to add bass lines so I'm starting to use that much more.

I used to play bass so may start recording walking bass lines of my own to.practice over.


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FWIW --

The problem with having "something running in the background" (on the PC) is that you'd have the same problem with dropouts, that you have now with Audacity (etc).

So, I'd vote for what you suggest -- a small, free-standing digital audio recorder.

If stereo matters to you, you'll want two "line in" jacks, to take the L/R outputs of the mixer. If stereo doesn't matter, you'd need only one "line in" jack.

You might also want something with "auto-start" capability, so that it stopped recording when you weren't playing.

I think the Zoom H4n (or Plus, or Pro) would do the job nicely. It'll record for hours at high-resolution, and you can re-format the SD card regularly to eliminate old recordings. I know there are Tascam equivalents; I don't know anything about the Boss line. (Check the "auto-start" capabilities, before buying, if that matters to you.)

I admit bias -- I have an old Zoom H4, and it's done quite well over many years.


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As a follow up, I bought a used Boss BR 80 today which was on sale locally and will collect it in a day or two.

This is a compact digital multitrack recorder which has the ability to record from a line in and can do loops etc. I'm hoping the additional features will be useful as I work on improving my improvisation.


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Originally Posted by AndyOnThePiano
. . . I'm hoping the additional features will be useful as I work on improving my improvisation.

I think you'll have some fun with that!<g>


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Andy, there exists a simpler solution.

Any DAW has MIDI recording mode, with nearly zero load to the computer resources.
You simply play your lessons in MIDI recording mode and then save your project.
Then, in any convenient time, you can transform your MIDI record into an audio form (this is called rendering).
You can even use Audacity for this.

Good luck

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Thanks Andrew.

I've used Audacity, but never in midi mode and had also tried a couple of other DAWs, but find that as I'm typically using other software at the same time that switching between them was a bit of a pita.

When I'm practising I'll usually be using a sheet music reader and possibly something like Band in a Box. I know that i could minimise screens etc, and my pc is reasonably fast (Intel I7) but it was too much messing around.

A second screen would probably have helped and I did think about getting a small touchscreen , but I don't really have enough space above my piano.

If truth be told, I'm also hoping that the Boss will be useful for my.other musical passion of playing the bass.

Thanks for the suggestion though. I will look at midi mode.


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The MIDI functions of Audacity are very limited. https://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Midi


http://www.sinerj.org/
http://humeur-synthe.sinerj.org/
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I meant using the DAW audio output as the audio input for Audacity, not sending the MIDI signal to Audacity.
I did this many times with Cubase and Reaper, this is quite easy.

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I use an old XP PC with an outboard sound card connected via SPDIF to the main PC. This is my DAW. I'm using Pro Tools 7 as that's what came with the sound card but you can use Audacity or any other recording software that works with XP.

Unless you are planning on setting up a state of the art recording studio an old PC with XP will be fine. And you can pick up what you need for a song as the hardware and software is no longer supported. Just make sure both the soundcard in your main PC and the 2nd one have SPDIF. With SPDIF recordings never leave the digital domain so the quality will always be as good as the soundcard in your main computer.


Network them together and you can move files to your main computer as and when needed.

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Originally Posted by AndyOnThePiano
Hi all,

I'm trying to record myself playing for my teacher prior to lessons. I'm only thinking of music and not video.

The reason I try to record it rather than play live is performance anxiety. Alhough it's getting better I still find that when I play in front of my teacher I always make far more dumb mistakes than I would when I'm playing on my own. This happens even though my lessons are online.

I've tried using Audacity or a DAW to record onto my pc but found that this wasnt great as I use the computer for other things at the same time such as running a sheet music reader software and it got too complicated so am thinking about a hardware solution.

I'd like something that I can leave running in the background whenever I'm practicing to try and avoid the "red light fever" and then edit down to what I want to send on.

My current set up is that the output of my DP goes into a mixer, where I can add in a microphone, a drum machine or a line in from an mp3 player etc. One output from the mixer goes into the pc via an audio interface and an audio out from the pc goes back into the mixer (there's no issue with feedback).

I have a spare output from the mixer that I could send to a digital recorder and am thinking of a small Zoom or Tascam recorder or maybe something like a Boss BR80 multitrack recorder which seems to have a few other features that could be useful.

Does anyone do anything similar or have any suggestions?

What about using a basic MIDI recorder (e.g. Nocturne) on a smartphone/tablet connected to your DP via Bluetooth or USB? This might be the simplest and less intrusive way since you do not need to start your computer and prepare all software just to record a practice session.

If you want to use your computer you can use a DAW to record MIDI (not the audio), such as Cakewalk or Reaper. But a DAW is overkill for this task and you might end up spending more time fiddling with software settings than playing ;-) A simpler alternative is using PianoTeq just for recording (it also works in the free version). Or use just a simple midi recorder such as
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...avemidi-free-app-for-midi-recording.html
https://audio-file.org/2020/01/09/red-dot-forever-simple-midi-recorder/
https://www.midieditor.org/

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Thanks to both Boylan and acdp, I've never heard of nocturne, but may give it a try. I have played about with a couple of DAWs but found they were taking up far too much time trying to do a simple task and I was reluctant to invest the time to learn it.

I had thought of maybe running it on a separate laptop or tablet, but never got around to hooking one up.

I like the idea of a simple midi recorder, as I know the files are tiny compared to mp3.


I'd be a far better pianist if I spent the time I'm on this forum playing my piano instead.

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