Getting the most out of practicing goes beyond the time spent playing your instrument. Recording yourself and watching afterward can be a very eye-opening experience! Playing an instrument occupies a lot of mental bandwidth. It’s hard to truly assess yourself when you are trying to pay attention to your technique, your posture, your tempo, reading music or tabs, playing the correct notes, playing the correct rhythm, playing with beautiful tone, using the fingering your teacher taught you even though it’s harder than playing it “your way”, that impossible section that’s coming up that you mess up every single attempt, your neighbor’s dog that has been outside barking for the last hour, and everything else that our brains focus on besides the task at hand. When you watch a recording of yourself you get a much clearer picture of what you actually sound like, what your technique looks like, if your rhythm is steady, etc. because you get to sit and analyze from a third-person perspective.
Tom Brady watches game film, because it’s hard to focus on your throwing mechanics when a 300-pound behemoth is trying to take your head off. Jerry Seinfeld listens to his live sets after doing stand-up, because it’s hard to focus on your pacing and delivery when you’re in the middle of entertaining a room full of people. When you allow yourself to take a step back and evaluate your own work after the fact, you get a more complete picture of what you do well and where you have room to improve.
Attached is a short clip from a practice session where I work on a G Major Scale/Arpeggio run. I noticed right away that my left-hand pinky finger was being a little unruly(what else is new) and I got off tempo from the metronome a few times. Take a look!