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Musicians - Make Your Mistakes Count

How to turn epic fails into epic triumphs

 

by Dendy Jarrett

 

 

 

Everybody makes mistakes—it’s part of being human. But not everyone reacts to mistakes the same way. Some try to cover up, some pretend it never existed, some double down on being wrong, and some just hope no one notices.

 

What I learned long ago from a tough drum & bugle corps instructor is that if you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big mistake. Crazy talk, right? Not really. His reasoning was that if you’re giving something your all, and putting epic intensity into everything you do, then your fails will have epic intensity too—but that’s better than playing it safe, and never doing anything epic out of fear of having an epic fail.

 

If you caught the recent Grammy Awards, you probably saw Adele as she started performing a tribute to George Michael. She got about 35-40 bars into the song, and most likely due to an in-ear monitor problem, realized she started the song in the wrong key (which became apparent when the orchestra started playing). She abruptly stopped the performance—live on TV, in front of millions and millions of viewers. She apologized profusely and stated: “I’m so sorry, may we start again?” She continued with “I can’t mess this up for him [George Michael].” She then started over and gave a stunning performance. At the end she received a standing ovation for what seemed like forever.

 

My level of respect for Adele increased immeasurably. In the space of a minute, she transformed an epic fail into an epic triumph. Because she wasn’t afraid to own her mistake, she could start again—and she ended up owning the song. And the audience. 

 

If you caught the recent Oscars, you have another example that mistakes happen—and people are more accepting of mistakes if you simply keep it real. And why is that? Because we’re human. We all make mistakes. When you own your mistakes, you connect with all the other humans who make mistakes—which, come to think of it, is the entire world.

 

Join the discussion here

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.

 

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