Don’t Let Mistakes Stop You

This is one of the common mistakes I see myself and others make.  Stopping when you make a mistake.

Yes, it’s understandable, but make a habit never to stop when you make mistakes.  In particular, don’t break out of rhythm!  Keep going!

Why? It’s because that’s how it is in performance.  When you’re playing to an audience, the worst thing you can do is to let mistakes disrupt you and freeze  you on the spot.  Keep a straight face, act as if nothing happened, and keep going!  Chances are, nobody except you notice anyway — unless you let them know that you made a mistake.

Remember, pros make it look easy.  And that’s not because they never make mistakes — they make fewer, yes, and smaller is their degree of mistakes, yes — everyone makes mistakes.  Guitar is a hard instrument to master.  But what pros do and amateurs don’t — they don’t let mistakes disrupt the flow of energy.  They are utterly unmoved by their mistakes, they are not bothered.  Maybe deep inside they may be, but they never show it.

Keep your cool, and keep going.

This habit stems from the belief that mistakes are bad, and that you have to play it right.  Playing correctly is a noble goal, but mistakes are not bad, in fact, mistakes stemming from challenging yourself are to be welcomed!  Mistakes are much better teacher than success.  They point places where you can improve.  Learning from mistakes is one of the key ways we grow.  Embrace mistakes with open arms.  Don’t try to purge them.  Learn to live with them.

Stopping and correcting mistakes by disrupting the music is a habit.  Act as if nothing happened and keeping going is also a habit.  You need to firmly engrain the latter, because in performance, when you’re under pressure, your habits will show.  This, we must practice daily and make it the norm consistently.

Don’t let mistakes stop you.  Stay in the music.  Stay in the rhythm.  Stay with the flow.

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