Friday, January 06, 2012
Practice Mute Point
Actually, this is a practice mute tip, but I couldn't resist the pun.
I like to play with recordings, and I particularly like to play with recordings when I'm learning a new piece and I want to be able to hear and feel how my part interacts with the other part or parts. Sometimes I do it by loading music into my iPod and playing while wearing headphones, which works pretty well as long as the headphone cords remain behind my head, and sometimes I use speakers, which works pretty well as long as I'm playing violin. The viola is louder under my ear than the violin, so it is difficult to hear the sound of the recording unless I crank it up to an inappropriately high volume.
After a bit if frustration this morning, I tried using my practice mute to play along with a recording. It was a great success! The practice mute allows me to keep a recording at a realistic volume, allows me to physically "dig in" to the instrument and be as expressive as I like, and it lets me hear the sound of the violist I happen to be playing with (who is often playing well and nicely in tune) as well as the other musicians on the recording.