Start Overs?

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Starting Over in Performance


I was involved in a 4 hour master class yesterday at a University here in Utah.  During the master class on 2 different occasions, students had troubles with the entrance into their performance pieces.  The first time, the student just continued on after all the blurping at the beginning, and continued to blurp the whole song long. (blurp = messing up)

The second student however, blurped (on the 3rd note and not able to find the 4th), asked the accompanist to begin again and went on as if nothing happened.

What would you do?I suggest you stop and start over.

It’s a tricky question. But I would say start overs are okay. I always condition my students to continue on even if something has gone awry. But, when it happens right at the beginning of your number, IF it is going to put your mind in agony for the rest of the performance, I suggest you stop and start over, as long as you can let it go.

The best thing to do would be to not “dwell” on missed notes during the piece.  It doesn’t do much good to get your shorts all tied up in knots while performing.   Those notes are in the past.  It’s your reaction that matters.  Move on and relax.  Remember Rafiki from the Lion King?

Rafiki bops Simba on the head.

Simba asks, “What was that for?”

Rafiki: It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.
 Yeah, but it still hurts.
 Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.
 Ha. You See? So what are you going to do?

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller
Get Flutie with us! Learn and enjoy every musical minute.

6 thoughts on “Start Overs?”

  1. Though it’s never happened go me personally (sarcasm) I usually say something like “Ooops! Let’s try that again,” or “…guess my guitar, (flute, tuba, puck one)wasn,t ready for me!”

  2. When I’ve missed notes or hit a wrong note I’ve either held the previous note, trilled or slurred tithe next note. Then I jump in the next measure, but that is only good when you’re not the soloist. ?

    1. Hi Theresa, this is a great comment you left here. Actually, it’s totally okay to hold, or even (make something up for a second) until you can jump back into the proper place with the right note. The most important thing is to go confidently, and completely forget about the mistake. The audience will always forgive and forget IF you do. 🙂 ~Rebecca

  3. Christopher Tsiliacos

    Hi Rebecca: I shall heed your sage advice, and not get my shorts in a twist. Be that as it may, the forensic of my experience was different. I had an instrument malfunction during a performance once as a soloist. I couldn’t get an airstream through my clarinet. In my case, however, it was an instrument problem, and not a performer “blurp.” In situations like this, nonetheless, I always have a backup instrument waiting in the wings. So I played my trumpet in its place, and the show went on. For my next solo performance, I’ll be playing my concert flute–your favorite instrument. If for some reason that too has a malfunction, my violin and concertina will be on standby. That’s the nice thing about playing multiple instruments–I always have one or more as a backup. By the way, I’m glad you defined the word “blurp.” It wasn’t in my Funk and Wagnells dictionary. Happy fluting. 🙂

    1. Hi Christopher, nice thought! You’re right, if it’s the ‘instrument fault’ then it’s best to stop and have a quick fix. I have had that happen to my students when in recital. For example, one student began… I could tell something was wrong because two of the notes weren’t coming out at all… I raised my hand to signal her to stop. She did. I stood and told the audience that I needed to take a look at her instrument. Everyone waited patiently while I retrieved my little fix-it screwdriver from my case. I fixed her flute, and she was able to begin again confidently. Whew. It happens! Thanks for the perspective. ~Rebecca

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