Beethoven said, “To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable.”

I love mistakes. They are often funny, goofy, or just plain strange! Instead of tensing up, stressing out, and trying to play something perfect, why don’t we just play? I know it’s easier said than done, but one way to approach it is to welcome the mistakes.

Imagine you’re practicing basketball free throws. Do you need someone to explain it? “Hold the ball firmly but relax. With a burst of energy, thrust your arm from the elbow, but keep the shoulder loose. Don’t miss!” No! You just throw the ball a bunch of times and your body finds a way of doing it.

Obviously I’m oversimplifying it, and I don’t mean to imply you throw your hands on the keyboard a bunch of times and eventually a beautiful tune will emerge (although that has been known to happen!). What I am saying is you will be less tense and more comfortable when you see mistakes as useful feedback.

“Honest mistakes are not only natural, they are immensely useful. Truthful and pure, full of specific information, they show us with immediate, elegant clarity where we are right now and what we need to do next.” – William Westney, The Perfect Wrong Note