Record & Review R&R

Day 313 Week 44 Q4 Friday, November 10, 2023

R&R is a common phrase you hear everywhere, from offices to locker rooms. The traditional definition of R&R originally came from the military slang for rest and recovery, rest and relaxation, rest and recreation, or rest and rehabilitation. It is an abbreviation used for the free time of a soldier or international UN staff serving in unaccompanied (no family) duty stations.

I want to propose a different meaning for creative outliers – record and review. For musicians or anyone who speaks, the benefits should be obvious, but everyone who creates can benefit from writing down what happened and what they learned from it. When you are in the middle of a creative process, hopefully, perhaps even in a state of flow, where many details can escape your conscious mind. Some of these hover between the unconscious and the conscious, and the act of attempting to capture them is usually illuminating.

I have often been surprised by the difference between my perceptions of performance while it is occurring and when reviewed later.  It seems that during a performance, both flaws and wonderful moments can be either magnified or diminished. Additionally, putting the recording away for weeks, months, or years can also change your perception of what you previously did. We are not always very reliable observers and may be incredibly unreliable when observing ourselves due to what else is going on in our lives at that time.

There is a great deal that can be learned by reviewing what you recorded if you did manage to record what occurred. Every time you do not record or capture in some way what actually transpired, you are passing up a tremendous opportunity for growth. Of course, it can be immensely difficult to try to capture either during or right after you have done something because your mind is usually in a very different place. 

We and our creations all have flaws, and the best way to address them begins with recording and reviewing. I once performed with a band on a day that we all thought sounded terrific. The next day, when we listened to the recording, we discovered, to our great embarrassment, that we had evidently forgotten to tune up our instruments. We were horrified that our judgment and perception could be so dramatically altered.  

I am sure you must occasionally have replayed a conversation after the fact to attempt to better understand why things did not necessarily go the way you expected.  Or why they did go the way you expected. The point is review is incredibly important and powerful and if you did not capture anything, it is tough to do.

Try to think about R&R.