I still remember like it was yesterday the first piece of advice I received after my very first solo performance many, many years ago.
It was this…
Never, ever say sorry on stage. If you have to apologise for what you have done on stage then you shouldn’t be up there in the first place.
For me, live musicians who say sorry while on stage is a real pet peeve of mine (that is, the saying sorry part, not the performer themselves).
I mean, if I’m in the audience listening to someone give it everything they got on stage and at the end of their performance they say something like “oh, sorry about that,” they’ve just ruined a special moment for me.
Apologising for what you’ve done on stage is an unnecessary and unprofessional thing to be doing to your performance.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you only get one chance at a first impression” before, but it’s so very true. The last thing you want to do is put off your audience by proving to them that you’ve no confidence in your own performance.
Here are my three reasons why you never apologise on stage:
It’s not the mistake you make but how you get out of it that matters.
I have made some gigantic mistakes in my time as a live musician but the greatest test of a true professional is the way you recover from a mistake. Audiences genuinely love it when a performer takes a mistake and turns it into something to be proud of.
That’s confidence right there.
More often than not, the audience wouldn’t have noticed the mistake anyway.
If you’re playing your own songs the audience has no point of reference as to how your song should sound. Any mistake that you make could sound like part of the song to someone who has never heard it before.
Unless you are playing to an audience of anally retentive musicians you don’t have anything to worry about. By saying sorry you have bought the potentially unnoticeable mistake to the audiences attention.
How silly is that?
It doesn’t promote a healthy attitude towards making a mistake in the first place.
We are human beings and therefore we will make mistakes. A lot of great ideas come from mistakes and little glitches here and there.
Treat them like happy accidents. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and laugh it off, or at least smile at it.
The audience will be right there supporting you every step of the way and besides, awkwardness is not a feeling that you want to leave your audience with at the end of the night.
So remember, embrace your mistakes, learn from them and keep the performance going.
Until next time, just get out there and do it,
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