Mistakes on the Piano

So you messed up while playing the piano? Life goes on. Keep a few things in mind and you will be a lot happier in the long run.

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Video Summary
You’ve made some mistakes on the piano. Now what? I have a confession to make. I make mistakes all the time when I’m playing music. Some might be thinking that yeah, we see them in your videos. I don’t edit them out because I think it’s important for students to see that even I, as a professional musician, make mistakes all the time.

Two days ago, I was playing this really beautiful song that had some weird changes and notes in it. I had two different pieces of music and thought I’d laid out the right one, and I realize that the right piece of music was not there. I quickly tried to find it, but had to quit playing completely because I didn’t know what to play. There were too many chords in the song and I couldn’t just do it by ear. The person who was singing kept singing and I joined back in on the chorus. I was so embarrassed, but what is funny is almost no one even noticed.

When we make mistakes, it feels like it is a major thing. Sometimes it might be that way, but most of the time, you’re the one who notices. No matter who notices though, you have to keep going and not let it stop you. Don’t let the fear stop you from trying and playing.

The most important take away is life goes on. Don’t let it ruin your day or attitude, cause fear or doubt, and keep trying. As a musician, don’t tell people you were horrible when someone says you did a good job. Just say “Thank you, I appreciate it.” Let people love you and compliment you as well. Now go and make some mistakes!

30 Comments on “Mistakes on the Piano”

  1. Thank for your story……I messed up this past Sunday by played the wrong notes at the intro of the song. I always wondered if anybody notices. I know I did, I apologized in the mic….I think I gave myself away!!!!

  2. My wife and I do ‘special music’ from time to time in our little church. (We are FAR from professionals, but we have the occasional moment of greatness—well, maybe not ‘greatness’, but at least ‘pretty-goodness’.) Every time before we start, I remind her (me) that as long as we start together and end together, the rest will be okay.
    It is hard to accept ‘praise’ when you really know and/or wish you had done it better. Your advice is very wise, just say thanks and accept that you are appreciated.

    1. It’s amazing how true your “Start Together, End Together” comment is. Oh, and I love your “pretty-goodness” comment…made me laugh!

  3. Can I just say your video tremendously blessed me today?!?!? Last Sunday, this exact thing happened to me…I thought I had my pages in order but turned out I had a page totally missing. When I flipped my music and noticed it wasn’t in order, I started turning pages desperately to find the missing page. No where to be found. Panic mode set in instantly. Normally, I could have fiddled my way through, but this was the first time we performed this song so I was clueless. Needless to say, we made it through- I’m not sure what my fingers were playing, but afterwards, the feedback I received was totally opposite on what I thought. And I said “thank you” out loud, but to myself, I was thinking ” no way could they have heard the same music I heard”. But as you stated, most times, the congregation is clueless as to when the music is “a little off”, but we [musicians] know the exact measure it went off…LOL.

    BY THE WAY, I love your site. Been watching your tutorials for about a month or so now. I’m thankful that God continues to place people in my path [even the ones I don’t know personally] to help me in my music ministry. God bless you!

    1. I feel for you! It makes me want to pack up my keyboard and leave the country when I make a mistake…lol. I’m very blessed to be able to help you out how I can. Love and prayers over your ministry!!!

  4. Thank you for your story! Mistakes I have made during worship include playing in Eb rather than E, and then trying to figure out where to go with it. The other things that have happened regards using the midi switch where I have transposed one piece, and then forget to undo it when it is time to play something else….Always a challenge! Glad I am not alone!!

  5. Thank you soooo much for this video. I appreciate your truthfulness. It makes me feel soooo much better. I have just started playing in church and your videos have been life savers. I mess up, but I just laugh about it. When I get home, I keep practicing hoping to stop making mistakes. I tell people that I mess up, but I won’t anymore!! I will do my best for the Lord!

  6. Wonderful comments!
    I have just started to play a little in our small church for a few congregational choruses and I just tell our most charitable congregation just to keep singing even if I mess up. Even if I totally stop playing they keep singing. As long as its a very familiar song thats fine

  7. Thanks for this video!! I really needed to hear this. After playing one obviously wrong note in a chord at church last week, I spent the rest of the service thinking about it and instead of paying attention to my pastor, I sat there trying to calculate how many notes I played correctly in the song in comparison to the one I messed up on. Sad how hard we are on ourselves to be perfect. I think about how music we hear recordings of- how those musicians got to record and re-record themselves till they got it right. But us church musicians get a few days to learn songs from scratch and one shot to play them perfectly on Sunday!

  8. I played the introduction to a hymn and the song leader didn’t come in, so I played it again. Still, he just stared at me. So I played it a 3rd time, wondering the whole time what his problem was. Finally after the 3rd time playing the intro, he announced that I was playing the wrong song! I wanted to crawl under the bench! ?

  9. That helps me so much. I am deathly afraid of making a mistake so I keep telling my worship leader I won’t play the keyboard. Maybe after this I will have the confidence to do it.

  10. I have been told not to worry about mistakes. The Holy Spirit can make beauty from ashes. He can make beauty from our mistakes.

  11. Thank you so much for your honesty!!! I have struggled with perfectionism my whole life and can be very hard on myself sometimes. God has been working on my heart and my pride to show me that I am loved just as I am… I don’t have to be perfect to be accepted and loved. I deeply admire that you are so honest and open and show that it is ok to make mistakes. Allowing others see our mistakes and our “realness” makes us more approachable, relatable, and endearing. Your message is so encouraging! Thank you so much! I enjoy your site and I am so blessed by your lessons! Thank you for being you! God bless you!

  12. Thanks for sharing! We are our own worst critics and you are right, most of the time no one notices except us. One of the things the Lord really dealt with me about for almost 2 years as a worship leader is my “perfectionist” mentality. If I am constantly focused on the songs being perfect my focus is in the wrong place. My job is to lead the congregation into the very throne room of God and if I am focused on “perfection” I am not truly worshipping, I’m entertaining. Don’ get me wrong, I think we should do what we do for the Lord to the best of our ability and be prepared, but I have learned over the last two years that if I get my focus on God during worship the Holy Spirit takes over and those little imperfections don’t matter. They are nothing more than a tool of the enemy to keep us from doing what He called us to do with confidence and freedom. God is good all the time and I am going to worship Him with my whole heart, imperfections and all! 🙂

  13. Thank you Wade! That is so encouraging! Yes, I make many mistakes when I lead worship. Im also learning to quilt and a friend shared with me about the Amish quilt. The Amish have it right… They don’t expect perfection in their quilting. In fact, they don’t attempt perfection, when they make a quilt, they always purposely make one mistake because the only perfect One is God. We do our best and commit the rest to the Lord! Thanks again for your honest encouragement.

  14. I would like to pay for lessons with pay pal. Is that doable? You are an awesome instructor. I appreciate your instruction!

  15. If you don’t make mistakes then you are self-righteous. That’s a bad place to be. I would rather admit it and grow. Love your site!

  16. Thanks Wade, Your words of encouragement really helped me get through my first time out playing keyboards in front of people in many years. I really like your website and when I am not busy or wasting time try and get on to pianochops.com and go through the Worship Lessons. All have been helpful and awesome, the checklist is great 🙂 One thing I did last Sunday was just looked at the congregation as one big family, and family are suppose to love you anyway haha so I did make a few mistakes but am pretty sure I am the only one that noticed and the guitars and drums do a great job of covering for me. Keep Up the great work and God Bless you, your ministry, and family !! You are a gifted minister.

  17. Thanks Wade, your post is so encouraging. I play for a small country church and have made every mistake possible from leaving out pages to playing the wrong song. I have one hymn that I mess up the same line each time I play it. While I am trying to fill in to make a fuller sound where notes are not written, I hit wrong notes, I go home and work and work on that one spot and it happens every time. The worst part is that it’s an invitation hymn and I seem to play louder and louder trying to recover. it’s embarrassing to make that same mistake on the same song over and over. I get discouraged but I love playing.

    1. A little humble pie…not that yummy. lol. There are times when I’m stuck in my brain…thinking about a part coming up…and I always mess it up too. Welcome to the team 🙂

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