Posted: Oct 7, 2019
Category: Live Performance
**Guest post by Eki Shola, a musician and physician that creates a healing and transformative space for the listener through sharing her lush, jazzy-soul, live electronica vibes.
"Musicians making mistakes, yes that’s what Mmm stands for. We all do it but I’m not sure if we openly talk about it. Instead, what I’ve observed are a range of reactions - some subtle and others not. I’ll chat about two different scenarios but in reality, I think we all fit on a spectrum, save for the bands that appear to play completely perfect and are tight all that time (but I guarantee they did not start that way).
The Tantrum - I was at an open mic show which as you know showcases a range of abilities and talents and I thought this guy was doing a great job on his guitar and singing. At one point as he sang, his words started to peter out and became inaudible. Seconds later, he started to speak quietly and stated, “I forgot my lyrics”. Okay cool, we’ve totally all been there. But his initial serene proclamation started to get louder and he spat out, ”AH MAN I CAN’T REMEMBER THE WORDS!” This transitioned to a loud barrage of words I can not type here. Moments later, he grabbed his gear and stalked off the stage. I caught up later with him to introduce myself telling him how much I enjoyed his performance and he admitted he had got himself worked up. I shared with him what someone advised me back in the days, hey if you forget your words you can always improvise or “dah-di-dum” the rest! I could tell he felt a little ashamed by his actions but we’ve all been there and have felt frustrated by a performance that didn’t measure up to our own standard. Yet, hopefully, we learn from it and keep going.
The Grimace - ooh I love these. So you’re watching a band play and the vibes are flowing and you’re totally in the groove, head-nodding, perhaps dancing. The harmonies are spot on, and the beat is tight. But then, wait a minute. You hear one note that clearly does not belong in the key being played. You kind of quickly glance to the left and right of you in the audience to see if anyone else noticed, but you see no visible distraught look on anyone’s face. But then you look up quickly and see the ever-so-slight grimace on the musician’s face. Sometimes but not always, the band members respond with a kind smirk or small outward laugh which visibly relaxes the musician. You witness a silent banter that conveys a, “hey it’s all good... we got you” message. I love those moments. Why? Because no one is perfect! It’s a little reminder of our humanity whether we are newbies to the music industry or world-acclaimed (or self- proclaimed) stars. To me, the true musicianship is how she or he transitions and keeps going smoothly. Now that’s an art. I remember as a child learning to play the piano and one wrong note I would go baaaack to the beginning and restart. Remember all the kids that would do that at recitals? It’s painful just to recall. Yes, it’s good to practice your chops with repetition but learning how to move on gracefully is also vital.
What I find interesting is how we musicians deal with musical errors - how do we interpret them and what are our reactions to them. Mistakes are inevitable. Instead of allowing them to cause us grief, we can accept them, continue to practice our craft and just enjoy the ride! Keep making that music!"
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