How much "wrong" is still alright?

mrchattr

Gold Member
This thread is from a discussion that started in another thread, but it was after that thread stopped receiving a lot of views. This is just a personal opinion thread, I'm curious to see where people are at with this. The question is: how many mistakes are acceptable to you when performing live?

From when I started studying with teachers, I was always taught that mistakes are not acceptable. They weren't in middle school band, in high school marching band, in jazz band...perfection was expected. Now, we are all humans, so maybe one mistake in a long gig won't make me think it was a bad show, but more than that, and I am not content with my performance. I want to see what everyone else's personal standard is.

To clarify: When I say a "mistake," I mean something that is your fault. If your stick breaks and you miss one hit grabbing another one, that's not really your fault. Same if a head breaks or something crazy happens. I just mean a mistake that comes from you. It can be as big as falling out of a song entirely, or as small as missing the snare on 2, but being back on it for 4.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I have long thought that a good musician is one who can make their mistakes like they were supposed to happen. If you can do that, it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Well since we are all human, we are going to make mistakes. And while practice makes "better" and not "perfect" some mistakes are going to happen. I don't think there is a number that is ok. There are big mistakes and small mistakes. I guess it would be up to you, and whom ever is in charge as to just what was acceptable and this will definitely vary from person to person. It would be a bigger mistake to one, put a number on it and two, to expect no mistakes. After all we are human, or did I say that already?
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Great question Jon..

..and since its about personal standards, I'll say on the outset that I'm a hang-dog downer after every gig and can only think of all the boo boos, mine & everyone elses..

Over the years, I have learned however ( the hard way ) not to judge a performance through my ears alone. Listening to recordings later I'm also amazed that the part that I thought sounded good was'nt that good, and the parts that I thought we blew it, weren't all that bad. So I'm perhaps somewhat philosophical and just happy the the gig is over..and I can wipe my face and have a beer.

I am particular about no mess ups on the form though. That just tells me that someone is not rehearsed enough to know the road maps or to know the tune backwards.

Over reaching, overplaying, extending solos, a missed hit, a bum note in the attempt to go for glory are all acceptable realities of a live gig where the musicians are communicating real time with real people.

Mistakes are also relative, I think. Gavin Harrison making a mistake in a Porcupine Tree might be very noticeable because the form is so tight while Antonio Sanchez's mistake in a Pat Metheny free form solo might not..
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
I used to get really mad each time i played wrong on concert's, but no one ever noticed them(except some major bummers). If you can make your mistakes seem like a fill or something you're intending to do, few will notice(playing live that is). In a studio, it's most prudent to make it as perfect as possible.

Also, don't make ugly faces when you play wrong, or people will start to notice ;)
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i don't think i've ever played a show without some kind of mistake. but what i'm calling a mistake could be something very minor, like playing a fill that was in time and ok sounding, but not quite what i wanted to play. i would love to play a perfect show just once in my life, but i'm usually pretty happy if i get through a show with no major mistakes, like playing past the end of a song or completely biffing a fill.

ironically, the times i have played a near perfect show the other members of my band have offset that with their own egregious errors, so it all cancels out.
 

Three

Senior Member
Obviously I try not to make mistakes but if one happens, it's not the end of the world and I don't beat myself up about it.

If I mess up really badly (like putting the backbeat on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4!) I learn from it which means it's not a "mistake" anymore. Because of this attitude, live, I've never made the same mistake twice, which I guess you could call "improvement!"
 

jer

Silver Member
If my band-mates notice, to me, it's wrong.

I guess it was some time last week during a gig, I dropped an 8th note on the hi-hat. Was simply relaxed and let me elbow drop a touch causing me to fan on that single 8th. Not that I get upset, but it was mentioned by the guys (in a ribbing fashion, it's not often they catch me on anything). I feel as though it was a mistake I could have prevented.
 

Jon_Gwon

Senior Member
I have long thought that a good musician is one who can make their mistakes like they were supposed to happen. If you can do that, it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make!

I think that is one of the most important things I ever learned about being a gigging drummer. Obviously you'd like to play a perfect set. But life doesn't always work out like that, if you can learn to roll with the punches a bit, instead of being completely rigid in your approach you can make all sorts of little slip-ups go without notice.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
I think that is one of the most important things I ever learned about being a gigging drummer. Obviously you'd like to play a perfect set. But life doesn't always work out like that, if you can learn to roll with the punches a bit, instead of being completely rigid in your approach you can make all sorts of little slip-ups go without notice.

I agree... recovery is key to success live. and if you never make mistakes you may not be prepared to recover well from one.
that being said, I also am very critical of my own mistakes and when I make them i'm very upset by it. usually though, small mistakes are not notced by the audience... big mistakes are an issue though. playing past the ending, over shooting fills, falling out of time and dropping out are all unacceptable mistakes in my opinion (although I do them all occasionally). now if you're making excessive small mistakes or messing up on every song, that's just sloppy playing so that's bad too.
 

theindian

Senior Member
That was funny. Has anyone seen the video of Motley crue playing Dr. Feelgood to a vocal backing track and getting off from it? It was on some awards show a few years back and I can't seem to find it on you tube. They fell apart on that one too.
 

razorx

Platinum Member
That was funny. Has anyone seen the video of Motley crue playing Dr. Feelgood to a vocal backing track and getting off from it? It was on some awards show a few years back and I can't seem to find it on you tube. They fell apart on that one too.

I think it was their first tv appearance in 05 when they got back together. I think it was the spike tv video game awards. I can't find it either.
 

jon e rotten

Senior Member
If my band-mates notice, to me, it's wrong.

I guess it was some time last week during a gig, I dropped an 8th note on the hi-hat. Was simply relaxed and let me elbow drop a touch causing me to fan on that single 8th. Not that I get upset, but it was mentioned by the guys (in a ribbing fashion, it's not often they catch me on anything). I feel as though it was a mistake I could have prevented.


You missed one 8th note?.....tough crowd.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I have long been interested in stripping things down so I'm playing the bare minimum number of notes. I have a modest technique so it's partially from necessity but I also like space and clarity in the music and enjoy playing in an accompanist role. So once I know a song I'll often play "perfectly".

Except ... it's never ever perfect. Lots of microtiming errors. Unreliable initial tempos. Sometimes speed up. Plenty of dynamics errors. Plenty of errors in tone generation from drums and cymbals. My groove is rarely in the pocket I'm after.

If you play a lot of notes you have a greater risk of playing wrong notes but the "little errors" as per the above are much less noticeable.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
From when I started studying with teachers, I was always taught that mistakes are not acceptable. They weren't in middle school band, in high school marching band, in jazz band...perfection was expected.

what did you go to the musical school of satan? my teachers always taught me that if you make a mistake, 9 times out of 10, you're the only one who knows you made a mistake. just keep rolling. and for the 1 time that everyone notices, you pretty much just keep going anyways.

mistakes happen, hell thats why i'm here. lol ^.^
 
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