"Like most things I begrudge, I needed a kick in the butt..."
Here is my gift to you: my most loving 'kick to the butt.'
Early in my undergraduate career, much to my chagrin, I began recording my voice lessons upon request of my teacher. Back then, I had a rather “dumb” phone, so I purchased a Zoom recorder and an SD card. I would walk into the lesson room, pop on the recorder, leave it on the desk, and turn it off at the conclusion of the lesson. I didn’t listen to many of the early recordings because I thought I sounded… strange. I was uncomfortable listening to myself sing, let alone talk!
Like most things I begrudge, I needed a kick in the butt, which I gave to myself. I fortified my resolve and started listening to the recordings, all of the recordings. It’s still awkward to listen to myself speak, but it’s much less so now than it was in the beginning. As with any sound (or song, or voice, or idea), it becomes familiar with time, and we become more comfortable with it. Here’s a New York Times article about why we hear our voices differently than everyone else (In other words: You hear the sound vibrations through your muscles and skull, which gives it different qualities!)
Once I got over the hurdle of awkward, I understood a few reasons why recording lessons (and this goes for any kind of rehearsal, too) is a MUST.
Now to the logistics of recording… It’s hard to find a non-smart phone these days, and because of this, I’m willing to bet that your cell phone has a “voice recorder” or “voice memo” app pre-installed. If you prefer to separate the recorder from your phone, then there are a number of accessible recorders ranging from $20 - $100 and beyond. I mentioned Zoom earlier–I’m a big fan. You can find an entry-level recorder of theirs around $100.
Whichever recording tool you prefer, start recording your lessons and reap the benefits.
Liz, Alexandra, and Katherine are all faculty at The Voice Lab in Chicago.