Everyone practices a great deal to avoid mistakes but we are all human and sometimes mistakes just happen. I don’t care who you are or how accomplished a musician you are, there are a myriad of reasons that could create a mistake. There could be a problem with the instrument, there could be a distraction in the audience, a finger could slip, your memory could fail for a moment; the list goes on and on of potential problems that could lead to a mistake.
The best thing you can do as a musician is to play with continuity. Let’s just say there is a really big train with a lot of cars. If the train derails, there would be utter chaos – the cars would go everywhere and you would have a huge mess. But if instead of the train derailing, it simply slipped back onto the track and kept its course, while the event might be scary, it would not lead to disaster; instead the train would simply chug along almost as if nothing ever happened. This is how you need to think about a musical performance. It must keep moving along!
The worst thing you can do as a performer is to stop and dwell on a mistake. It’s absolutely crucial that in the event of a mistake you continue to maintain the proper time of the piece and make sure that you don’t stop playing. If you make a mistake that is jarring for the audience, everyone will notice no matter what level of musical sophistication they have. Just like if you are watching a movie and the frame skips even a few seconds forward or back, it is much more jarring than if there is a moment of blurriness or garbled audio.
The most important thing is to keep the music moving. This is essential when you are playing with other musicians because you will not be playing together if you lose or gain time! Even if you miss a note or crack a note you must keep moving; don’t let a mistake slow you down or stop you mentally. If you pull this off correctly nobody in the audience will be offended by the mistake. You just have to keep the flow and the time of the music intact and everyone will enjoy the performance even if it’s not perfect.
Thanks again for joining me Robert Estrin Robert@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729