Making Mistakes

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by FredFredriksson, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. FredFredriksson

    FredFredriksson Member

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    How do you learn from your mistakes?

    Do you sometimes play a wrong note or a chord a half step down or go to the bridge too soon? Do these things tend to happen live, at rehersal or during practice?

    What would you say are the reasons when this happens to you? Lack of focus? Not prepared enough? Both? Something else?

    What do you do about it? Practice the songs more? Forget about it and hope it will be better next time? Start a thread on TGP?

    Does this happen even if you technically know the chords or melody and suddenly, outside your comfort zone, it's not so easy to remeber anymore?
    Do you practice things over and over and still can't get it right?

    Do you never or hardly ever make mistakes? Why?


    What are your thoughts, experiences and lessons learned?


    Just to make sure, I'm perfect & i never made a mystake ever, just asking for a friend :anon



    Happy Holidays and merry Christmas!
     
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  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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    "Do not fear mistakes. There are none" - Miles Davis.

    Reasons for my mistakes (which I define as unintended sounds that don't fit, that I wish I hadn't played - unlucky accidents as opposed to lucky ones):

    1. Not knowing a piece as well as I thought I did;
    2. Thinking too much;
    3. Not thinking enough;
    4. Trying too hard;
    5. Not trying hard enough;
    6. SOMEONE ELSE IN THE BAND SCREWS UP AND PUTS ME OFF! :mad:

    How do I learn from my mistakes? I don't, really I don't....

    Reasons for that:
    1. I'm lazy...
    2. I don't make THAT many mistakes...
    3. I like the random lucky accident, I like surprising myself. (I wouldn't want to be too polished, there's no fun in that.)

    And a merry Xmas to you!
    (I'm a devout X-ian...)
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
  3. muzishun

    muzishun Member

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    With me it's intentional. I do it just so people know I'm human.

    Hee hee Merry Christmas!
     
  4. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Starting a thread on TGP is always a good idea. :D

    Mistakes are simply part of being a musician. I try for something like an NFL cornerback attitude.

    Lots of reps and confidence in my skill, but the ability to blow off any mistakes and move on.

    These days, when I make mistakes in a performance setting, it is typically due to not enough preparation, and losing myself in the music rather than keeping at least some of my focus on what I'm doing.

    When I screw something up, I pull out that particular part (measure or whatever) and work it until it is locked in before plugging it back into the tune. I'm no pro, so most of the mistakes I make could be fixed by performing or practicing more.
     
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  5. mojo jones

    mojo jones Member

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    Mistakes are part of being human. They are caused by a momentary and temporary lapse of concentration, which is unavoidable. Training reinforces muscle memory and improves reaction time and accuracy. For a musician, training is practice and rehearsal. The better your reflexes, the faster your thought processes, the better you are at concentrating, the fewer mistakes you'll make. If you practice a lot, your training will take over when you have a momentary lapse.
     
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  6. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    What defines it as a mistake? The fact that it is dissonant to the western ear? This concept baffles me. I remember listening to an Indian snake charmer playing a clarinet type instrument. The locals were all digging on it, leading me to believe he was "hitting the right notes". To my ear, it didn't sound right, at all. It's just what we're used to hearing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
  7. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes. but there's a difference between a "bad" sound and an unintentional one. The former is just something we don't like. It's not a mistake unless the player didn't mean to play it (and also felt it was a bad sound).
    An intentional sound, however bad, is - by definition - not a mistake. Unless maybe you're being paid not to make those kind of sounds... ;) (As this is a background dinner jazz gig, maybe playing that thrash metal anthem would be a mistake...)
     
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  8. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    Tony Williams didn't like playing with George Coleman because he played too perfectly, which indicated Coleman was playing lots of prepared
    material. Williams preferred players who made mistakes because that meant they were reaching for things beyond their pet licks and were actually
    in the moment.
     
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  9. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    That's really interesting and brings up a lot of questions about the nature of improvisation.
    I always liked Mick Goodrick's adage that 'Nobody knows what comes next'. I guess you can surprise yourself as well as non-playing listeners.
     
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  10. stevel

    stevel Member

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    FWIW, if I make a mistake (in music that's supposed to be mistake-free), I consider that I myself am not as prepared as I need to be.

    However, some happy accidents have come from mistakes, so they're not all bad.
     
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  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    If I don't make a mistake during an improvised section it means that I'm phoning it in.
     
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  12. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

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    The OP is actually several different discussions, but I think yes, most of the time it comes down to your intentions. But I will say, there have been plenty of times where I played exactly what I wanted to. and right after realized it wasn't the right thing for the situation. So I don't know what you'd call that. Beyond that I've always felt that if you're not making mistakes you're not going to learn anything.
     
  13. FredFredriksson

    FredFredriksson Member

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    thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    i'm glad to hear i'm not the only one who screws up sometimes! i forget that occasionally.

    yeah, i think of this quote a lot! I can't agree with Mr. Davis here, but who the hell am i anyway.
     
  14. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    No offense (Happy Hollandaise!) but I feel compelled to come to the defense of Mr. Coleman here..... :)

    GC wasn't playing "prepared material". It's just that stylistically, and in terms of how much "edge" he was willing to inject into his solos, he was coming out of a different bag than Herbie and Wayne, who were both fully embracing "the new thing", influenced by Ornette Coleman and were also heavy into experimenting with adding elements of 20th century classical music - things like playing maj7#5 sounds over or in place of a dominant. The whole band was also into a "suspension" of the harmony, (ignoring the changes) sometimes for long periods of time.

    GC is actually (I'm not familiar with his work post Miles, apparently he's still active at 80, so my characterization of his playing is based on his work from the early 60's) a very strong, inventive player coming more out of a bop bag, but he had no problems playing modally either, maybe coming from a similar place as Cannonball.

    So it wasn't a problem of GC being more "prepared" or less spontaneous, he just wasn't coming out of a similar bag as Herbie & Wayne, making his sound feel kind of "dated" to Tony. But he was actually a strong improviser, and deserves recognition for it.

    Miles wouldn't have hired him if he wasn't. :)
     
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  15. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I think what he meant was that if you happen to play something you didn't mean to, that's an opportunity, a challenge: something to exploit, build on.
    If it's obviously "wrong" then (as they say) "the right note is only a half-step away", and you just played an approach note, that's all.
    But sometimes an unintentional note actually sounds cool. At any one time, there's more right notes than wrong ones anyway. Fact! ;)

    But also, he was talking from the perspective of a highly experienced musician, where the right notes were all subconscious anyway - and any "wrong" ones were easily escaped, and just kept things fresh, kept him on his toes.

    It was that freshness, the possibility of surprise, of keeping it new every time, that seemed to be what mattered.
    When Wayne Shorter first joined Miles's band, Miles asked him, "You know my music?"
    Of course WS, keen to impress, replied, "Sure!"
    "Uh-oh", said Miles.
    :) - There could hardly be a more economical way of saying "You need to abandon your preconceptions when you play with me."

    You know what he said to John McLaughlin, who kept screwing up his solo on the recording of In A Silent Way? "Play like you don't know how to play the guitar" - and McLaughlin's next take was the good one. Miles knew that he was only making mistakes because he was trying too hard, thinking too much (nervous to be playing with Miles) - because he was afraid to just rely on his internalised experience. It would be impossible for him to play like he "didn't know how" - but if he could pretend he didn't, and stop judging everything he was doing, that internal knowledge would take over.
    It's the story of the centipede that was told it had 100 legs, and then found it could no longer walk.;)

    So that kind of advice really only applies once you've been playing several years - meaning you now know a lot more than you might think you do. You've forgotten that you can do it, and think you have to focus and control it all the time when maybe you don't.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  16. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

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    I never make misteaks!
     
  17. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

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    Of course he was a great player but there is a reason the classic version of this group is the one with Wayne Shorter. Miles talks about Coleman working out things to play in his hotel room which may be where the "I pay you to practice on stage" comment came from.
     
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  18. mojo jones

    mojo jones Member

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    Are there any recordings of the "bad" takes of that solo? Is there an interview with McLaughlin where he discusses the recording session and the advice from Miles?
     
  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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    From my old teacher:

    Your first mistake should serve as a signal, informing you not to do it again. That little mistake might not seem like much to the casual listener, but to you, engaged in the training of your motor system, that one mistake is far too costly to let slip by uncorrected. If you do let it go by, your nervous system will begin to view that level of performance as acceptable, and the mistake will become more and more difficult to overcome.

    So an important rule to remember is: Do not make the same mistake more than once. Multiple mistakes of the same type are very dangerous.
    Once you make a mistake - stop, go back and slow it down to a tempo that you can play accurately without making a mistake.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  20. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

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    +1

    As my old fencing coach used to tell me, "practice does not make perfect--practice makes permanent." The more you practice a mistake the more difficult it becomes to undo it.
     
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