Mistakes on Stage

My daughter was telling me how she's nervous of her upcoming recital. Asking why, she said how was worried about messing up in front of others and getting embarrassed.

Being the supportive parent I am, I said "Well, I can promise you this: you will absolutely mess up. It will happen, and there's no avoiding it."

Seeing this was doing nothing to build her confidence, I elaborated: "Perfection is impossible. There are no perfect performances. Everyone messes up - and really, a perfect performance isn't always that interesting. It's robotic. The thing that gives music its 'soul' is imperfection."

  • What wows people is how you handle the mess up when it happens.
  • Do you shut down and walk off stage?
  • Are you so scared of messing up you never get on the stage?
  • Do you laugh at the mess up and forge ahead, continuing to make more mistakes?
  • Do you pause, reset, and continue on without further mistakes?
  • Or do you take that mistake and make something out of it so it almost looks like it was meant to be there all along?

People will see the mistake, they'll see you make it - and the only part that matters is what you do in the face of it.

I could see that my daughter was starting to reevaluate: Problems/Mistakes were actually Opportunities.

Being that she takes after her dad and loves getting a laugh, I realized I needed to add a second bit of wisdom: If you turn the mistake into laughter, don't go for more. Laughs are great, but don't turn the mistake into the performance. As much as you'll love the attention, you'll upstage the others.


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