Have you ever played a wrong note in a performance? What happened after you played the wrong note?
You’re performing a piece of music and your fingers fumble – maybe you’re playing in front of a crowd. Perhaps you’re nervous. Maybe you’re auditioning for college or for a band – stress is high, your adrenaline is flowing, you’re not thinking as clearly as you do during practice sessions. How can you effectively recover from a mistake?
Here are my top 3 tips for recovering from a general mishap during a performance.
1. Practice your piece with the idea of positive intention. Imagine your performance going well! Personally, I am a person who prepares for the ‘worst-case scenario’. In the past, I tricked myself into believing that if I prepare for the ‘worst-case scenario’, I’d be better able to accept failure and disappointment.
THIS BELIEF IS FALSE!
Reverse psychology is not effective in building self-confidence, preparing for a major event or self-motivation. In fact, preparing for the ‘worst-case scenario’ is damaging – psychologically, emotionally, and sometimes even physically.
In the past, I’d been so nervous and stressed about major life events that I’ve made myself physically ill. Being constantly stressed takes an unforeseen toll on the body and mind. A person that is stressed is more susceptible to weight gain, depression, anxiety disorders, sleep problems, and a host of other difficulties. (MayoClinic.com).
When you practice or think about your upcoming performance, envision it being successful! Focus your intention on believing in yourself, your musicianship, and the fact that you are well-prepared.
2. Take a few deep breaths!
Deep breaths before and during a performance have the ability to settle my nerves, calm my mind, and relax me. Deep breathing increases oxygen flow to the brain and body, which in turn promotes clearer thinking. Deep breathing has also been proven to lower blood pressure, increase the immune system, and lower the pH of blood. (NPR).
3. I have a plaque on the wall of my music studio.
The quote on the plaque reads: ‘If you stumble, make it a part of the dance.”
During your practice time, if you make a mistake, keep going. Don’t let the mistake phase you or throw you off your game. Whatever you do, don’t react – that means no facial expressions, grimaces, winces, no sign that you ‘messed up’. This technique takes time to master – but once you are confident in your abilities to use this tip, people may think you meant to play the note you did!
The keys to being effective while using this technique are:
- Not expecting perfection during your performance
- Breathing and being relaxed enough to ‘go with the flow’ of the music
- Being able to ‘let go’ and not dwell on the mistake
I hope these tips help you become a more confident musician! Remember, mistakes are a part of life and no one is perfect.
‘If you stumble, make it a part of the dance.’