Record Yourself

When we are in our own head, watching the world from our own perception, things tend to get blurred. When we are doing anything, we can’t actually see ourselves moving as a whole like the world does see us. We don’t hear ourselves like the world hears us.

Catch: We tend to have quite a strong self-image. However, our idea of how we come across is often quite different from the reality and the way others perceive us.

Solution: Record yourself to perceive your performance through the eyes of the outside world.

"We do not look at our own faults; the eyes do not see themselves, they see the eyes of everybody else. We human beings are very slow to recognize our own weakness, our own faults, so long as we can lay the blame upon somebody else.” - Swami Vivekananda
"It’s easy to see the faults of others but difficult to see one’s own faults.” Buddha
"Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others, usually make no time to correct their own." - Art Jonak
"When looking for faults, we should use a mirror, not a telescope." - Anonymous

Piano Wisdom Nugget 3

Have you ever heard yourself talk on a recording and thought “huh?” “ugh,” or even “bleeehhghh!”

When we are in our own head, watching the world from our own perception, things tend to get blurred. When we are doing anything, we can’t actually see ourselves moving as a whole like the world does see us. We don’t hear ourselves like the world hears us.

This isn’t just caused by anatomic principles -the sound of your voice gets transformed inside your head in a way that nobody else experiences, actually making it sound different to you than it does to others; you can’t see your own head, neck and/or back as wholes, let alone take a look at yourself from a distance and see yourself as a complete person, simply because of how your eyes are positioned in your head- but also because our mind is already busy executing. Its awareness is on performing the act itself and/or perceiving the world around us (which, in the rare occasion that you’re doing absolutely nothing else, is still your mind being occupied observing the things that happen around you, if being mindful and not busy thinking about something else).

The more we’re focussed, the higher the level of concentration required to perform certain task, the less we’re able to “perceive like an outsider.”

Watching and/or listening to a recording of yourself, will allow you to take place in the shoes of the perceiver. It will grant you the eye of the outside world and allow you to see, hear and then improve nuances that you might miss when experiencing from within yourself - especially when distracted by executing the performance itself.

Exercise / Getting Practical:

Simple and straightforward: record yourself!

Depending on the occasion, it can be just an audio recording or a video (always good, since there’s audio too).

When playing back the recording, pay real close attention and see if you can find details that you hadn’t really noticed before.

Give yourself feedback on the points that you might want to change or improve upon. Treat yourself as you would someone else though - be fair, but tactful. Take this last advice close to heart, as we tend to be over-critical with ourselves. Don’t expect unrealistic results from yourself, just as you would not from someone else.

On the flip side, don’t let pride mask your own faults.

You’ll be surprised how much this can teach you about yourself and help you improve.

Everything on the recording come out exactly the way you wanted it to come out? Great! You’ve already aced it ;).

The larger-scale takeaway:

We are quick to judge the faults of others, but slow to recognize those of our own. Almost as much, we waive constructive feedback from others - disagreeing on their findings.

From the confines of our own point of view, we simply cannot see ourselves -exactly- like the world does. Record your performances and practice sessions every so often to learn things about yourself that only others could see before.

Be prepared - it’s always easier to judge others than is to judge yourself. Taking a look from this outside perspective will however allow you to judge yourself from the perspective that you would others.

Other area of life application

In which instance or other areas of your life have people given you remarks, feedback or even criticized you for something you didn’t agree on? That you had missed or hadn’t realized yourself?

Could you see yourself learning from assessing, then giving constructive feedback to yourself? In a way, getting to know yourself a little better, by capturing your performance on film and/or audio so you can experience yourself like the outside world does?

About Coen

Founder of Piano Couture and creator of the Hack the Piano method. Coen is a musician, reader, writer, web-designer, eater and traveler. Find him at

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