• Sandra Howe

Mistakes: When to Ignore, When to Take Note


There are two types of mistakes: mistakes to ignore and mistakes to pay attention to.


hand on guitar

But which is which?

It’s the situation that dictates your attitude to them. Mistakes during performances, or practice performances should always be ignored and “played through”. This seems obvious, but it is quite difficult to achieve – the temptation is to correct the mistake, or practise it away, but during a performance this isn’t wise. Instead, we must keep going and keep our attention in the present moment, not on something that is past and cannot be changed.

Mistakes during practice, we can pay attention to. We don’t have to worry about keeping up with the music or playing until the end. We have time to stop and analyse any situation we like. Mistakes that crop up time and time again (I call these habitual mistakes) cannot be played away. There is usually a reason why habitual mistakes occur and by looking at them closely we can work out a solution.

It’s important to remember that we are not robots, we are human, and mistakes are part of being human. Expressing emotion through music is also part of being human and something I would not want to give up for perfection.

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