Mistakes and how to forge ahead!

Shame. Embarrassment. Artists share how they get through it all when they make a mistake in front of an audience.

Don’t let one mistake deter from the rest of your performance

Chloe Jones

When I first started to perform I would let any mistake rule the rest of my performance, and this was obvious to the audience and would ruin my experience as I was too self critical about going wrong. I have learned to stop worrying about making mistakes, and to stop letting one mistake deter from the rest of my performance because it really isn’t a big deal. Most of the time, the audience doesn’t even realise you have made a mistake, so as long as you play it cool and confident, and act as if nothing has happened, then usually nobody will ever know! If the mistake is so obvious that people do know, then I might sometimes highlight the fact that I have made a mistake, and even make a joke about it, again playing it off as not a big deal.

I accept that it happened and I move on, I think that the audience respects this too. If you don’t seem bothered by the mistake, then it won’t make things awkward for the audience either. 

If you really worry about making mistakes then I would suggest using some form of tablet device at your gigs. I use an app called Setlist, and on that you can list your repertoire and you can also input any prompts such as lyrics or chords to help you out if you find yourself struggling to remember a lot of material. You can get a clamp for your microphone stand, and this will hold the iPad so that you can see it clearly and will be able to glance at it for prompts every now and then, whilst maintaining a professional performance.  

Chloe Jones is a singer-songwriter from Greater Manchester, UK with a style that can be described as a blend of folk, country and Americana. Chloe has been featured regularly on BBC Radio Manchester, which led her to perform for two years running at the Lowry Theatre in Salford for Mike Sweeney’s Christmas Extravaganza amongst a star studded line up. In 2019, Chloe was featured on BBC’s The Voice UK. Her EP ‘Meet You There’ was released in 2016 and features a selection of songs inspired by Chloe’s travels to the USA, with a spotlight on tales of romance, friendship and most of all, wanderlust. Chloe performs in live music venues across Manchester and beyond and is available to perform at weddings, private parties and events.

In person audience vs. live stream audience

Kaleigh Noakes

When I make a mistake I try not to show this to a live audience and just carry on performing and put more energy or more passion into the performance. However, if it is other things like recording or live videos on Facebook I tend to laugh it off. Sometimes when I perform, I get an adrenaline rush (which is natural) but can also throw off a performance. Sometimes I can be really negative towards myself – this is something I’m learning not to do!

I take time to reassure myself that as long as I am enjoying myself and the audience is enjoying themselves as well, then the mistake is not that important.

But I always try and make sure that I don’t make the same mistake again by practicing songs that might be more challenging. I remind myself of how far I have come when it comes to singing and how much I enjoy performing which motivates me to move past the mistakes. 

Kaleigh Noakes is a 25 year old female vocalist based in South Wales. She started singing when she was 18 in drama groups and later made her way to competitions and taking part in charity events. She is an active team member of Talent Search Cymru which seeks to give guidance and support to those in the music industry. She loves to perform where and when she can and she says “It’s a release from my day job. I also work as a community Psychiatric Nurse for the National Health Service.” You can find more about Kaleigh on InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

Reassure yourself that you’ve done the work

Rebecca Southard

My biggest anxiety with performing is forgetting the words- it always has been! Focusing on my breathing slowly and deeply into my lungs and feeling the expansion in the ribs is helpful for me. A lot of it also involves reminding and reassuring myself that I’ve done the work- I know I know the words! Also getting into the story of the song is key, if you’re truly living the story of the song then you can’t go wrong. 
If though for example your mic falls off or the sound cuts out, if you can work that in to the story or vibe of the song, do it! Make the gesture of picking up the mic a part of the performance! If not, always the usual ‘keep calm and carry on’ gem… if it doesn’t faze you, it won’t faze the audience. 

Rebecca Southard has been singing and dancing since the age of 5. After graduating with a 1st Class BA in Musical Theatre from the London College of Music, Rebecca most recently returned from working abroad at Universal Studios Japan as a singer. Despite the ‘Covid times’ we are in and how hard hit our industry has been, Rebecca has been soaking up all the wonderful actor/singer materials, platforms and networks that have become so available with other likeminded people, helping her to keep focused and motivated to achieve her next goal!

They’ll only know if you show them

Calista Garcia

In performance, if I make a mistake, the only real thing to do is to keep going and act like it didn’t happen. The only time I’ve had people point out mistakes I’ve made is when they know it because I “made a face”. Fake confidence and they’ll assume precision, to some degree.

Calista Garcia is an indie folk-rock singer-songwriter with a style that harkens back to ’70s classic acts such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, but with a fresh modern twist. Her debut EP “Wild Woman” (2019) garnered a nomination for “Best Roots/Country EP” in the 2020 Independent Music Awards. Calista also writes for film/television and the stage, having completed her second classic-rock inspired musical, Crystal Skies, which is a 2020 semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. Instagram | Facebook

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