Mistakes are your Friends
In music education “mistake” is a bad word. “Don’t worry about mistakes” is the mantra we often hear. I would often try to forget about my mistakes but they would creep back to annoy me and pop up to embarrass me. It wasn’t until I started to analyse my mistakes that I realized, mistakes are quite amazing things if only we are brave enough to look at them.
The biggest obstacle is being brave enough. The word mistake brings up associations of shame, embarrassment, anger, anxiety and frustration. When you make a mistake, what feelings pop up for you? What memories spring to mind? Do you feel silly or embarrassed? Mistakes are part of being human – on one side they can lead to laughter, and on the other, serious consequences. When we make mistakes as children it can lead to punishment and can have negative associations.
Let’s untangle musical mistakes from other bad behaviours – because, in reality, musical mistakes are not bad and don’t lead to serious consequences. They are essentially harmless and can even help us. Let’s go one step further than simply not worrying about mistakes – let’s move towards them, fearlessly.
Next time you make a mistake try to look at what occurred without judgement, you may be surprised at what you find when you allow yourself to explore without the fear of criticism.