I love jazz. I’ve always envisioned myself playing in a big band with some huge f-hole guitar chinking out a rhythm that makes you dance. But it wasn’t meant to be. Not yet anyway.
When I play I make more mistakes than I care to admit and it really bugs me. So much so that I was becoming afraid to try anything new for fear of making a “mistake”. At one gig I made a huge mistake, I mean massive. I turned to the crowd and said, “that wasn’t a mistake, that was jazz”. Everyone laughed and I knew at that moment I had found something to help me get past making mistakes. Here are some things that have helped me.
Everybody makes mistakes, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to improve. It only means that we all make them, even your critics make them.
Most people don’t know you made a mistake. I’ve played my worst and people still loved it. I would say “it was a rough night” and they would stand there and look at me like They didn’t know what I was talking about.
Don’t be a Whining Musician and make a truck load of excuses from the stage. This is a bad habit that too many musicians make and I think we need to stop it. Ever been at a performance and the front man says. “Well, we’re just learning this song. We’re not really sure how it will turn out.” I just want to scream out “shut up, play the song and quit making excuses”.
Laugh & Learn, Too many times we are way too hard on ourselves. We are our worst critic. We say things to ourselves that no one else would ever say. So why not simply learn from our mistakes and laugh at them. I know downplaying them has sure helped me.
So there you have it. I am a self proclaimed jazz player and I would imagine you are too!