Hit a bad note? Forgotten the next chord? Screwed-up on the tempo? And you are live on stage! Familiar?
It always happens. No matter how much you think you are prepared to deliver a flawless performance, screw-ups still happen. Misery loves company. But again, everybody does, even our immortal rock n roll heroes made performance mistakes. We are only humans after all.
Are there any guarantees against screw-ups during your performances? I am sure the answer is a big NO. Mistakes do not give a damn to all the efforts you have sacrificed during your sacred practice sessions. When you think that things will be smooth sailing, a storm suddenly hits you without warning and throw you into the sea of screw-ups. I know how that feels, it is terrible. When this happens, not only you are embarrassing yourself, you are also letting your band down. How about those people watching you, the audience? It can actually be a disaster. And in some situation, you might get the boot out from your band straight after the show.
But come on, this is Rock N Roll with its ‘don’t give a f**k’ demeanor, how can this be so serious? But hey, it is still a business at the end of the day. You still need to deliver the goods because having just balls ain’t enough, you need to be professional if you want to do this.
Mistakes are part of our lives, they made us better. No matter how much you invested time in your practice schedules would not guarantee a perfect show. You need more than just practicing your parts, you need to be creative.
Why I said so? Say, when you done a mistake on stage, the next thing you need to do on the fly is essential. If lose your composure, the situation would get much worse because sometimes we just forgot what to play.
Allow me to share these 3 tips, after myriads of trials and tribulations, have proven their worth.
Tip 1: Apply techniques and tricks.
Always ensure your granary of techniques and tricks is fully stocked-up and prepared for supplies anytime during your performance.
Techniques like bending, sliding, legato, hammer-ons, pull-offs, vibratos etc. And there are tricks, like yanking that whammy bar (tremolo bar), pick scrapes, harmonics etc. They would serve you real well. And as a matter of fact, you are already doing all these stuffs when you play anyway, just that you need to ensure your composure is in check when you hit a wall.
Say, whenever you hit a bad note; go bend, hammer it on, pull it off or slide it to pitch or to whatever it is supposed to represent. Oh, how about yanking that whammy bar to create some wild noises? Well, the choice is yours.
Tip 2: Learn how to improvise (a lot).
For this one, you need to have some fundamentals of the music theory before this makes sense at all. The more you understand, the more better you become. Improvising is a skill which needs time to develop. As you made progress, you will understand this better.
Improvising is not just about memorizing and perfecting scales, it is much more. Its got do about creativity and how you train your musical mind to interpret musical information.
If you hit a bad note, improvise it. Innovate it. make it sound right.
Tip 3: Taking advantage of the momentum.
What do I mean by this? It is that feeling when you are up on stage. You need to connect with your audience because when you does, it is phenomenal! Nothing beats the power of having the audience connected and involved with you.
When you played a bad note, just keep playing it like you really mean it. Make it sound authentic. Anyway, you are the one with the guitar, the entertainer, the reason there is an audience before you, so nothing would be deadly wrong unless you let it be. If you are convinced, everybody would too. You are not playing for a music examination. You are rocking the stage so, let it rock \m/ !
The take here is; do not let a mistake stops you dead, welcome it, turns it around and make it sound intentional.
Thank you for your attention and please feel welcome to share your thoughts in the comments.