Here is a peek at the project that has been occupying my spare time for the last two months:
In November, I got the idea to record myself playing some classical pieces that I were my favorite to learn as I was growing up. I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift for my family, friends, and piano students. The project turned out to take MUCH more time than I had originally anticipated, but I am very pleased with the outcome!
First, I dug out my old piano books and chose 18 pieces. Using my Zoom H2 (a great little device that has since been superseded by newer models, such as the Zoom H2n and the Zoom H4N), I recorded myself playing the pieces on my piano in my studio. I also decided to take video with my Nikon DSLR as well, so that I could later sync the audio with the video and put the files on YouTube. (I haven’t done this part yet — this will have to wait until January.)
Every few days, I recorded a few pieces. Each piece required multiple takes until I captured a performance I was happy with. I wanted a near-perfect take for each piece, because I do not have advanced audio editing skills to be able to correct mistakes like the pros do.
Once I had captured all of the takes, I had to learn how to do some basic audio mastering. A colleague of mine gave me some tips for EQ-ing the audio, adding reverb, and normalizing the tracks. These adjustments improved the audio somewhat, although the recordings certainly still sound like homemade recordings.
By this time, Christmas was nearing. I had originally planned to burn all the CDs myself. When I added up the list of people to whom I wished to give a CD, I realized I needed 75! Burning 75 CDs would take a lot of time, not to mention printing some kind of album art to slip in the CD cases.
That is when I began googling for a CD duplication service. I discovered a few sites such as DiscMakers.com and OasisCD.com. The packages were much more affordable than I had expected, even with the inclusion of the CD cases (which would save me a lot of time, energy, and ink cartridges). I loved the look of the “eco-wallets” at DiscMakers.com and completed a quote. For about $300 (including shipping), I could get 100 CDs and cases. $3 per CD was worth it to me!
DiscMakers provided some Photoshop templates so that I could design my own artwork for the eco-wallet as well as the surface printing of the CD.
I submitted the audio tracks and artwork to DiscMakers.com. 10 days later, the CDs were in my hand!
To you, my dear readers, I would like to offer a digital download of the album as a Christmas/New Year gift. Feel free to take a listen to the tracks and then click the grey “Download” link below if you would like to save the tracks to your computer/device. You are welcome to use and share these tracks for educational purposes with your students if they are of any use to you.
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You can read the album notes as well as the program notes for the pieces here.
Best wishes this holiday season!