Thursday, September 20, 2012


How do you deal with a performance mistake?   I mean the kind where you play the wrong pattern, move the wrong way, etc.

Do you laugh it off?  It’s generally a sign of a healthy mindset if you don’t let it get to you, but it’s not always the best response.  If you mess up and don’t beat yourself up too much for it, you’re less likely to freak out about doing it again  This in turn might mean when the situation comes up again, you won’t have a panic moment.  However, are you not taking it seriously enough?  Too much “laughing it off” and you’ll find that you’re not learning from your mistakes and not practicing hard enough.

Do you get upset?  This is a default for most people – not just taiko players!  You don’t want to make mistakes, obviously, and you’re making a mental note to yourself of what happened and hoping it doesn’t happen again.  The problem here is when you show that upset on your face, with a wince, or head shake, or even the opposite like a big grin or laugh.  What’s ironic about reacting to a mistake in those ways is that anyone who didn’t realize you made a mistake at first now knows you did!

Do you ignore it?  Don’t ignore mistakes.  If it’s a fluke and never happened before, then acknowledge it as such, but at least realize why it happened.  If you don’t like dwelling on mistakes because it feels negative, think of them instead as chunks of clay you need to chip away at to reveal the sculpture underneath.  If you don’t know you made a mistake, then you need to work on your awareness!

This post isn’t about how to learn from mistakes, it’s about what you do when they happen.  Bottom line is we all make mistakes and we will continue to make them.  How you deal with them shows a lot about what kind of artist you are.

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