I was recently invited to be a special guest of the Masters of Hawaiian Music in New York City. In the photo above, I’m in the center, seated between 5-time Grammy award winner George Kahumoku, Jr. and master ‘ukulele instrumentalist Herb Ohta, Jr. We each played a solo set and then jammed together to close the show.
(Play the embedded podcast player at 0:24 to hear a music clip.)
Getting on stage is a lot like podcasting. It can force you out of your comfort zone. Playing alongside full-time professional musicians had my imposter syndrome running high too.
After the show, a friend asked me, “How much did you practice.”
My answer, “By myself? Quite a bit. Together? Not at all.”
He responded with a socially distanced high-five.
One of the greatest acoustic guitarists of all time, Tommy Emmanuel once told me to never practice in front of friends or family. “They’ll get sick of hearing you play the same song over and over again. Please spare them and preserve their enjoyment of music.”
True pros know the value of woodshedding.
The term comes from the idea of going out to the “woodshed” in the back yard (or some similar, solitary place), and working at something, over and over again, until it’s perfected.
Practice with intense repetition by yourself. Then make it look like a breeze in front of people. That’s a great trick!
To perform with these legendary Hawaiian musicians was a dream come true. The universe has a wicked sense of humor though. Cold-like symptoms for one musician led to a positive COVID test. Organizing live events during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. The tour ended prematurely with a bunch of postponed shows.
The CDC says that I do not need to quarantine — just wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.
My family prefers that I not eat with them, prepare food, or wash dishes. I definitely don’t miss the dishwashing. As I write this, I’m isolating myself in the basement for the week.
It’s not all bad. In fact, my man cave has everything that I need. I’ve got my work from home set up, a TV, workout equipment, a camping mat to sleep on, and en suite bathroom. An air purifier and space heater keep me company.
You don’t need a potential COVID exposure to practice. We podcasters can woodshed too.
Make time to get better at your DAW
My digital audio workstation for editing audio is Reaper. I read a post at Podcast Editors Club and learned that I can edit video in Reaper too. This blew my mind. Optimizing audio and rendering video in the same program simplifies my workflow and saves me a lot of time.
I also learned that I can render an mp3 audio file and mp4 video file at the same time.
Thank you Steph Fuccio for the tips.
Try new plugins
Izotope RX Elements is one of my favorites. I use Voice De-noise (reduces background noise) and De-click in almost every episode that I edit. When it’s on sale, it’s a steal at $20!
I like RX Elements so much that I grabbed a promotion to upgrade to RX Standard. I frequently use Breath Control and De-Reverb.
This week, I was editing an interview with a guest whose laptop mic resulted in harsh, high-frequency S and Sh sounds. A little RX De-ess worked like magic. It was the first time, I’ve used this plugin.
See if woodshedding can make your podcast sound better and improve the overall quality of your show. Discover some shortcuts, and you might find that you can do things faster too.
In the meantime, from my basement to you… stay positive and test negative!