I’m not expert when it comes to solo competition. I’ve only been been doing it for two years, about 12 times total. I’ve learned a lot of things and made many mistakes. Probably the best thing that I have done, and I have been doing it since my first competition, is to record almost every event I’ve been in.
Being at a competition can be crazy. There is so much going on around you. Other competitors and bands are warming up. The highland games will be taking place with, hopefully, huge cheers from crowds at the caber toss and other events. On top of this you will be concentrating on your performance.
When you are actually performing it’s hard to concentrate on, and remember objectively, how well you are playing. The mind can play tricks on you. There is the tendency to hear and remember how you think it should be played rather than how you actually played it.
Hours later, after you get your scoresheet, you are going to look at the judge's comments and wonder what they are talking about. Some judges can make comments that are hard to decipher or somewhat open to interpretation. On several occasions I have looked at a judge's comments and thought they were wrong or even had no idea what they were talking about. A recording of the performance is essential to divining the truth. Listening to my performance and at the same time reading a judge's comments is a valuable learning experience. Usually, after listening to my performance against a judge's comments, I can hear areas of my playing where a judge made comments and figure what future work I will need.
Recording your practices is encouraged here at Dojo U. If you are following the plan to make the next grade in 6 months you should be making at least weekly recordings. At the end of this plan, having a recording of the day of the event performance allows you to track your overall progress.
The goal of Dojo U is to make you a better piper. Recording your competitions is just one more tool that can help you improve.