Making mistakes in music

Simona Donova
Submitted: Fri, August 25, 2017 - 11:25pm EDT
"If you are not messing up, you aren't trying hard enough" Wynton Marsalis.

Taking the first steps in learning a new instrument, or doing something that terrifies us is half the battle. We all know that learning a new instrument is almost as learning a new language; it's not easy, it's scary, uncomfortable, it's something we can't control at first, and we will make numerous mistakes. I often observe my students playing their pieces very quietly because of fear not to make any mistakes, and if I ask them a question about the piece they either don't answer, or answer very softly with fear that they may say something wrong. However, mistakes are essential in music, they are necessary for the progress! Making mistakes in a lesson is only going to benefit the student, this is the best way to learn; it is so much better to make mistakes in a lesson so the teacher can explain how to fix it instead of making mistakes at home when its comfortable because no one is listening, however, no one is there to show you how to fix the mistake.
Mistakes are also very common when a student tries to learn a piece of music at once; there will be sections in music that are harder than others, therefore they will require a little extra attention. In a lesson, we learn to have confidence when we make mistakes and also, to avoid some of the mistakes, we break down a composition in pieces and practice each little section as many times as necessary so when we do play the whole composition, our muscle memory remembers the small pieces.
In all that remember, nothing is ever going to be perfect; everybody makes mistakes no matter how advanced they are. It is very important to go to a lesson with confidence knowing that you own that piece even if it doesn't sound so good at first but the only way to make it better is to practice and learn from the mistakes.

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