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08 March 2018

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The Show Must Go On.

The title of this post is inspired from being ill with flu this week and not really feeling like making my regular blog post. But then I remember you my readers and how you would be waiting for this weeks “ramblings” and thought to myself - The Show Must Go On.

What do you do if you make a mistake in a music exam?

This week I want to talk about what you do when you make a mistake in a performance. Even top professionals sometimes make mistakes, but one thing you never hear them do, is stop. I have often said that rhythm is more important than pitch and if you go back to correct the mistake you are then compounding the error by spoiling the flow of the music, making a second mistake. To be honest, half the time, unless your audience knows the piece very well and you keep going they probably would not notice. If you stop to make a correction it will be blatantly obvious that something went wrong. Listen to these two versions of the same extract. CLICK TO PLAY

In the first there was a mistake - but unless you know the piece it’s quite unlikely you would have noticed. In the second, there are hesitations and corrections and it is much more obvious to everyone.

But what about in an exam. The examiner WILL know the piece. Should you correct mistakes in this instance, because he will know if you made one. Again the answer is NO. The exam is marked not just on getting the pitch of the notes correct, but on an overall musical performance. Any attempts to correct will spoil that performance.

So next time you play a piece you should know well, just be aware if, in “performance mode” you keep going whatever, or are in the habit of correcting mistakes. Let me know in the comments below.

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