How To Cover Up Mistakes While Playing In a Band Onstage

During a live performance all bands and all performers make mistakes. The good bands find ways to quickly recover from those mistakes without the audience knowing anything has gone wrong. The not so good bands quickly melt down, have a train wreck, and then seriously bum out the rest of the gig. This article about improving your musical performances by covering you mistakes will give you a few ideas on just how to not look bad while doing something, lets say not exactly right, onstage.

First of all the don’ts. No matter how tempted you are, when you make a mistake try not to glare at another member of the band hoping that blame will pass to someone else. This mostly happens when a guitar player goofs something up. He will give a dirty look to the bass player thinking that generally bass players already have a confused look on their faces and the audience will be forgiving of the bass player’s “error” anyway because, well hey he is the bass player. Don’t look at your amp like there is some technical thing that caused the note you wanted to hit sound like the wrong note you actually hit. Don’t slap yourself on the side of the head or scream “Oh blank” as loud as you can – those are dead giveaways to errant play. Bass players; when something goes wrong do not have a convulsion! Drummers do not throw stick, they hurt.

So to cover up mistakes; First of all realize that most people in the audience are not music critics, they are music fans. They are dancing around checking out other concert goers, and generally having a great time. Music fans are trying to find ways of having a good time, not finding fault in the band they want to enjoy. So if you play a wrong note, just keep smiling and plow ahead. It is attitude that people notice onstage so if you look happy and pleased, the audience will think that you are happy and pleased and not seriously bumming that the keyboard player, for instance, just hit an a minor when he should have hit an A Major. Besides in that case three two out of the three notes would still have been correct – which according to Meatloaf, “Ain’t Bad.”

If something has gone terribly wrong eg., the count-in was to fast or a serious equipment malfunction, try to get the bands attention, count a measure then everybody stop together as if a song is over. That way the audience does not have to endure the really bad sound of a band breaking down, and usually if you quickly adjust something and then count in again everything will be as right as rain.

So the best advice to covering up mistakes on stage is to simply have the attitude that at a live performance your primary objective is to have fun because the audience wants to have fun, so look like you are having fun even though things might not be going as well as you want them to. That is what being a professional is all about.