Hello to Robert and Pete, as well as other Piano Society members:
You have each discovered something that I would highly recommend that others try for themselves, in the privacy of their own home studios -- videotape yourself and then watch yourself (with a critical, analytical eye) playing / practicing the piano. The ultimate goal of viewing videos of the most important performer in the world (at least in your own mind) ... is to enable you to improve your musicianship, poise and general performance level.
The purpose of videotaping yourself is not entirely for an ego boost, but rather as a diagnostic tool -- a safe haven for you to see the way you perform, when other people are not watching. More specifically, videotaping yourself has the ability of transforming yourself INTO YOUR OWN PRIVATE TEACHER. There is no need to get dressed in public performance attire, unless you are using these tapes to prepare you for a high level contest. Rather, this is just for you, and is not intended to be viewed by others -- restated, simply be yourself.
As in previous threads, you will recall how one is amazed and humbled when he/she views these taped performances, hairstyle notwithstanding. Surely, you will become aware of mannerisms you never knew you had. These mannerisms are described in below in greater detail.
I would recommend using two camera positions (although they need not be done simultaneously). In fact, I would suggest you do NOT have another person present to operate the camera. As soon as someone else is in the room, your session turns into a recital -- and that is NOT what is being attempted at this time.
1) Capture your performance with the camera placed approximately 20 feet (6 meters) from the instrument -- or at least as far across the room as you can go with the lens zoomed out. This camera position will show you your "macro" mannerisms -- how you sit at the bench, whether you unconsciously flail your arms as you play, how your body outwardly reacts to your making mistakes, how you hold your wrists in relation to the positioning of your forearms as well as fingers, etc.
Tape yourself for a long enough stretch of time ... that you no longer care that the camera is running. This is NOT to be a performance, but rather an objective camera's eye view of how you practice a particular piece of music. Yes, I know, the first five minutes or so will be excrutiatingly difficult to keep playing because you are still "performing" for the camera -- get yourself past that state of mind.
2) Capture a close-up view of your hands as you are playing. In the recommended ABSENCE of a videographer, set the zoom such that you can see your hands at close range, but zoomed back enough that your hands remain in view throughout your taping.
When taping in close-up mode, you should be watching what happens when you make the same mistake at the same portion of a given musical passage. The camera may capture any number of clues of which you completely unaware:
A) it may capture some clumsy fingering;
B) it may capture LAZY fingering (that you finger differently each time you play the same passage);
C) it may help you discover that a particular type of fingering may be satisfactory whilst practicing slowly, but the same fingering is not the most efficient one when playing up to tempo.
D) it may verify that the particular fingering is correct, but that the fingering LEADING TO the errant passage is all wrong.
Back to the original intent of this posting:
PLAN: Upon viewing yourself, take notes of the mannerisms you wish to improve.
DO: Work on improving those characteristics found lacking. Set a timeframe for improvement.
CHECK: Videotape yourself after you feel you have incrementally accomplished an improvement.
ACT: Dependent upon whether improvement had actually taken place, either continue on other parts of a musical work, or use this opportunity to go back the the PLAN stage and observe the mannerisms, and repeat the P-D-C-A process as often as required.