This Session Should Be Recorded (Issue 1082)

In which we are encouraged to record ourselves – our introductions, our pitches, our presentations – to polish them to full shine.

I’m a guitar player, a finger picker grown up in an American Appalachian folk music tradition. I’ve learned guitar the “back porch” way, watching and listening to other players, asking for tricks of trade as needed.

I particularly enjoy James Taylor’s “Mexico”. One afternoon a few months ago, for reasons “I don’t know why”, I decided, “I’d like to play the introduction to ‘Mexico’ exactly like James plays it.” At one level, tough to do – his Olson guitar sounds and sustains differently than the guitars I play. Undeterred, I picked one of his YouTube videos as the lesson plan.

The chords are easy – D, A, D, B minor, A, E minor, B minor, C, and G. The chord changes and picking – easy once you understand what he’s doing. Replicating what I heard in his video – not as easy.

I’d listen to James play one or two measures, then play them a few times, then record my playing, then listen to my recording, and then listen to James. Many times, ‘though I got notes and rhythms right, I could hear something else in his playing. So, play James again, listen, practice a few times, record, listen, compare, and change.

For a few months after I’d mastered the eight measures at the “almost like James” level, I played the measures as part of my daily practice. Every couple of weeks, I’d listen to James again. Almost every time, I found that James hadn’t changed a bit and that I’d drifted, so, back to listen – play – record – listen – change.

“Record, listen, and change” has been the most frustrating and the best help. He’s played it thousands of times. I’m in the low hundreds and it’s coming along. Almost there.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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