You know when you go to take a picture but your camera is in selfie-mode? You look in horror to see your haggard face staring back at you. That’s what tape study can be like after a gig. But, like flossing, the more you do it, the less terrifying it is. It’s actually good for your playing.
There’s a little tradition we have in DonCat while on tour. We listen to the previous night’s gig while driving to the next one.
We’re all usually drinking coffee, driving on the 5 and giving each other shit for little mistakes. While the critique might be wrapped in comedy, the content is serious. Scrutinizing playing with the people you play with is essential for developing communication skills you can use to express critique without someone getting all sensitive or going into a Hulk rage.
What’s good for the gander is good for the goose too. (Shhhh, let me spit out that idiom in reverse.) After doing tape study for the entirety of the Matt Pond PA tour and now the past handful of DonCat shows this month, I’m well aware of my tendencies in certain songs, in sections of songs, and overall as a drummer.
You’ll notice some ugly truths when you do tape study. But which would you rather have: some ugly truths you can improve upon, or ugly playing that you never correct?