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The Impact of Producers' Comments and Musicians' Self-Evaluation on Performance During Recording Sessions

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When recording in the studio, musicians repeat the same musical composition over and over again without the presence of an audience. Furthermore, recording technologies transform the musical performance that musicians hear in the studio. We conducted a field experiment to investigate whether record producers’ comments and musicians’ self-evaluation helped musicians improve from one take to another during recording sessions. Twenty-five jazz players, grouped into five ensembles, participated in recording sessions with four record producers. Two types of feedback between takes were varied independently: with or without comments from a record producer and with or without musicians’ self-evaluation after listening to the takes in the control room. Our results show that both external comments and self-evaluation give the ensemble a common ground but also make musicians too self-conscious.

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