Mistakes . . . . . or not

I’ll always remember preparing for my first organ recital while in grad school.  I was getting more and more frustrated over a particular passage and bemoaning the fact that I made mistakes while playing it about 50% of the time.  I had a very wise instructor and he said to me, “Everyone makes mistakes.  The sign of a good musician is what you do with them.”  That led to an incredibly good discussion about the intent of a music performance.  What do we hope to convey with our playing?  Why are we playing the music?  Why do we share the music?  The discussion led me to this conclusion:  If I worry only about making a mistake, the performance becomes all about me.  Doing my best to project the beauty of the music, even if there is a flaw, makes the performance all about the music.  My instructor was right.  In my practice sessions, I do my best to learn the music flawlessly – but mistakes happen.  And I try my best, when they happen, to weave them into the beauty of the music.  Because it is all about the music.

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