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  #16  
Old 02-07-2019, 07:54 AM
Martie Martie is offline
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Some of the best things I ever recorded were 'mistakes'. For example, once I was recording electric guitar and came to a section where I had to step on a wah pedal. Anyway, I almost missed it, nearly fell over and completely lost the plot for a couple of seconds. I carried on playing, thinking 'what the heck' by this point. When I went back into the control room, everyone was like, 'wow, what was that you just did?', and I had no idea what they were talking about. When I listened back my 'fall' sounded incredible and, of course, we kept the whole take exactly as was, not least because the rest (where I'd thought 'what the heck') was the best I'd ever played the part! I'd say my life has been full of similar 'mistakes', and I wouldn't change a minute!
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2019, 08:41 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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Within the last week, Tony Polecastro posted a segment about the differences between learning, practicing, and rehearsing. I’d add performing to that continuum, after rehearsing. And I’d also add, “messing around with a guitar in our hands...”

When we’re practicing or learning, it’s appropriate to stop at a mistake, and then work through that passage - maybe just a few measures - until we get it right. We should do that mindfully, understanding what’s tripping us up, slowing it down until we’re aware of every nuance, getting it to the point where we almost can’t get it wrong. Also, revising and potentially simplifying the bits where we keep making the mistake. (At least for me, those mistakes often happen in the same place over and over - maybe not 100% of the time, but often enough. Sometimes, you just have to cut your losses and simplify the error-prone measures, even if you’re no longer doing it exactly the way you originally wanted to.)

Moving from practicing to rehearsing a song involves learning to play through mistakes, figuring out coping strategies when mistakes happen. This process can be helped by starting at arbitrary points in the piece, learning to just pick up from anywhere. This develops “temporal independence” (I just made that up). What I mean by that is the ability to know where you are in a piece, and knowing how to proceed from that point, without having to “retrace your steps” to start over. This has to be practiced, just as learning the song itself has to be practiced.

Having a good feeling for the underlying chords and how to keep the backbone up when you’ve lost the melody also helps, especially with finger-picking.
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2019, 08:58 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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I watched Pierre Bensusan auger in on a difficult passage one night at Kevin Ryan’s house concert. He didn’t drop the tempo, but it was a sho k to him and me since I hade seen him at least a half dozen times or more with never a mistake.
After the room cleared he looked at me and let go with a string of salty descriptors about what had happened. He played it perfectly and I put the guitar in the case for him,

Last Friday I had a gig with the electric band, The Huckleberries. Playing outside with poor lighting, I discovered that I couldn’t see the fret board from where I was. Wrong notes came stumbling out faster than greased lightning. I threw my hands up in the air yelling, “ I can’t see!”, and then hit the next chord in time. After that, I was fine and hit all my solos perfectly.
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:00 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
Within the last week, Tony Polecastro posted a segment about the differences between learning, practicing, and rehearsing. I’d add performing to that continuum, after rehearsing. And I’d also add, “messing around with a guitar in our hands...”

When we’re practicing or learning, it’s appropriate to stop at a mistake, and then work through that passage - maybe just a few measures - until we get it right. We should do that mindfully, understanding what’s tripping us up, slowing it down until we’re aware of every nuance, getting it to the point where we almost can’t get it wrong. Also, revising and potentially simplifying the bits where we keep making the mistake. (At least for me, those mistakes often happen in the same place over and over - maybe not 100% of the time, but often enough. Sometimes, you just have to cut your losses and simplify the error-prone measures, even if you’re no longer doing it exactly the way you originally wanted to.)

Moving from practicing to rehearsing a song involves learning to play through mistakes, figuring out coping strategies when mistakes happen. This process can be helped by starting at arbitrary points in the piece, learning to just pick up from anywhere. This develops “temporal independence” (I just made that up). What I mean by that is the ability to know where you are in a piece, and knowing how to proceed from that point, without having to “retrace your steps” to start over. This has to be practiced, just as learning the song itself has to be practiced.

Having a good feeling for the underlying chords and how to keep the backbone up when you’ve lost the melody also helps, especially with finger-picking.
I'll second this, you need to practice performing (i.e. rehearsing), Besides working on pacing, stage presence, set list order, your rehearsal will likely include some flubs and one of your rehearsal jobs is figure out how to play through them.
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  #20  
Old 02-07-2019, 09:16 AM
eyesore eyesore is offline
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Originally Posted by Nymuso View Post
Unless you are horrendously out of tune, there are no mistakes during performance. You just keep on going. Unless . . . the mistake wasn't too bad. Then you intentionally repeat it if it comes around again in the song.
I agree ; never stop in the middle of a song!! keep going!!
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  #21  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:13 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Originally Posted by eyesore View Post
I agree ; never stop in the middle of a song!! keep going!!
Agreed, almost every time. But there is an exception to every rule. I've been present a couple of times for do-overs, in very different contexts, and neither one turned into a full fledged disaster. One was Bruce Springsteen's band, and other was in my high school concert band playing a Tchaikovsky piece that was a bit out of our comfort zone. The director was hopped up, and kicked it off at an outrageous tempo. He realized a train wreck was coming, and halted us before we could fully crash and burn, which is where we were headed.

In each case the damage was minimal, and in the concert band situation far less than what it would have been if we had soldered on (it was a large outfit and the various sections were not in sync). I'm not sure 95 per cent of the audience for Springsteen noticed the problem, but it clearly bugged him enough to start over. I was pretty shocked by it at the time, but I think it bothered the musician types in the audience a lot more than the typical fans.

The damage in each case was minimal because the break came very near the beginning of the piece and there was no apologizing, no excuses, no delay. Just stop and go. By the time folks figured out what had happened the show was back on the road. Starting over half way through would be a whole 'nother thing
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  #22  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:26 AM
Dreadfulnaught Dreadfulnaught is offline
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Well, if you make a mistake just play through it. I actually respect musicians who make the occasional mistake because they are hanging it out there. Nothing is more boring than someone who takes no musical chances.
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:03 AM
RedJoker RedJoker is offline
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I'll tell a funny story about a Q&A I saw with the Avett Brothers. They were asked about the meaning of a particular song. After they answered the question, Scott just started singing it, leaving Seth to catch up on guitar. Seth looked surprised, started playing and laughing. After the first verse, Scott realized they hadn't played it in a while and looked at Seth saying "I can't remember the words!" Seth just laughed and said "I know!"

At that point, Seth is just vamping on the guitar while the audience is singing the song to get them back on track. Except for some reason, the audience was singing the THIRD verse, not the second. Now the story was out of order but what the heck, everyone had a laugh.

Obviously, I'm telling this story as a good, funny memory. Had they handled it differently, my perception may have been different.
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  #24  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:30 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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If a passing mistake discombulates you it means you haven’t practiced enough. Everyone makes a mistake in performance. Most often it just isnt exactly what we intended to play. But no one but you knows what you intended to play. The audience is usually oblivious. If someone does notice I’ll just wink and carry on.

In your typical cafe/coffeehous/openmic the audience hears you as ambient noise. Most arent there for you, so dont put so much pressure on yourself. In concert is a different kettle of fish, though.
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  #25  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Rodger Knox Rodger Knox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore View Post
I agree ; never stop in the middle of a song!! keep going!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Agreed, almost every time. But there is an exception to every rule.
Many years ago, I saw Heart live. Ann made a minor flub at the beginning of the intro to Crazy On You, didn't really get back on track, and made a major flub at the end of the intro. She stopped, looked up to the audience, and said "You people deserve better than that!" and started over.
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  #26  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:47 PM
tonyo tonyo is offline
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I remember doing exactly what you explained in the early days of playing. Then I realized the importance of playing through but I grimaced instead. Then I learned to show no specific expression and play through as if it's meant to be played that way.

I still make mistakes that annoy the daylights out of me during public performances and have found out that for the most part, no one notices.
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  #27  
Old 02-07-2019, 02:28 PM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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So far, every example of when someone successfully stopped and started over involved a concert or something like that. But there are ways to make that more or less acceptable than others. For example, under no circumstances should you “fix” a mistake by repeating the bad measure or few measures - if there’s no coming back, maybe start the song over, or at least the verse. But, sometimes, if I’m just messing around with a guitar in my hand on the couch, I’ll blow some lick, and then go and play just that lick over again. I don’t think that’s ever appropriate to do while performing - it totally throws off the flow, and the flow is the most important thing to preserve.

Other examples of where it’s probably never appropriate to “fix” a mistake include if people are dancing, of if you’re accompanying dancers - all anyone really cares about there is the rhythm, and you completely destroy the experience if you try to fix something. In fact, this probably goes for any time you’re accompanying someone, including singers.

Another example is if you’re playing while people are really focused on something else - like a coffeeshop, a bar, a party. They won’t notice your wrong note, but they will notice if you keep starting and stopping, and that will lessen the enjoyment of the entire experience for them. They don’t want to be focused on you, but you’re forcing them to be.

And finally, maybe it goes without saying, but if you’re playing with others who didn’t make a mistake in the same place you did, you ruin it for everyone if you start throwing in extra measures resulting from you fixing a mistake.

I guess I’ve very rarely been in a position where I’m giving a solo performance in front of a crowd that’s there to listen to me - most of my performance experience has been playing bars, parties, accompanying dancers, ... in other words, it’s not about me. In those circumstances, you don’t start, stop, fix... you keep on, trying to making it flow.
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  #28  
Old 02-07-2019, 06:57 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Yes, it's not mistakes in the middle of a song that people notice. It's when you screw up endings.

Provided you can all manage to finish in perfect sync, you can get away with countless mistakes in the middle. You do have to stay cool during the mistakes though - no grimacing or blushing. And especially no swearing at the other musicians.
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:25 AM
Don W Don W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverSteve View Post
Let it go and let if flow. Play through it and keep going. For myself mistakes occur when I get distracted by paying attention to someone in the audience or letting my head wander when playing a song I've done a thousand times or rushing. Either way, relax, keep your head in what you're doing and relax. Then relax, breathe and, oh yeah, relax.
This is what happens to me...I get into what I'm playing (as if I were in the audience) and my mind wanders and I make mistakes and have a hard time finding the "thread" again. Keeping focused on what I'm doing and breathing and relaxing is what I need to do I think...thanks for this post. If I make a mistake with a chord or if I'm playing with others strumming and singing this is no problem. I can play right through it. It is different when I'm playing solo finger style.
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  #30  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:28 AM
Don W Don W is offline
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Originally Posted by Wooly View Post
I have the same problem and would like to know also. It's one thing to make a mistake and be able to push through it but when your mistake throws you off and you get all messed up, it's hard to hide that blunder. To the point where sometimes you need to start the phrase or passage over again.
Yes...thats the problem.
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