Yesterday while practicing, it occurred to me that lately I’ve been lazy about recording myself and listening critically. At that moment I was, sadly, too lazy even to go over to the next room and grab my phone from my desk (my phone has a recording app). But I DID have my iPad in front of me, since I was reading music from forScore. So I downloaded the iRecorder app for iPad/iPhone and it worked pretty well.
The strength of iRecorder is that it is drop-dead simple. One tap to record, one tap to stop, one tap to play, and all your recordings are listed right in front of you. Using it will not interrupt the flow of your practice or rehearsal (or at least, not by much). It also lets you email recordings, or transfer them to your computer via WiFi or iTunes.
Another really nice feature of iRecorder is that it can record in the background while you are using other apps. So, for example, I can record while reading music off of forScore.
Also, the iPad’s built-in mic and speakers were good enough for recording and playing back a practice session. Now, for you bigger-voiced Verdi-/Wagnerians, I don’t know how well or poorly the iPad’s hardware will do at capturing your voice. Speaking as a lighter voice type, though, I can say it worked adequately for recording and replaying the things I need to hear when assessing my own practice session.
On my Android phone, I use a different recording app, Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder. Again, it’s got a very simple one-tap interface for recording, pause, and playback. It does have some additional fancy settings, but they’re tucked away in a non-distracting location, and you don’t need them to get started with recording.
The same caveats apply regarding smartphone mic/speakers/earphones – they may or may not capture your individual voice adequately for your assessment needs. But if it does, it’s a useful tool for the practice room.