I really didn’t mean to do it…  For reals people… It was a total accident…  I mean, we had been playing this song for two weeks already…  And I’d been flawless in rehearsals, sound checks, & three live services the Sunday before…  But it still happened…


A few times a year, we invite the kids in our church to join us in the “big service” to lead the congregation in a few songs of worship.  And they get the full grown-up backing band just like all the contestants used to get on American Idol.  It’s honestly an adorable moment most of the time…  The parents show up early, sit all the way up front, & pretty much eat up every minute of it.  And the kids absolutely love it!… One of my favorite memories ever is from a few years ago, when my youngest snuck back around after the kids were supposed to start exiting the stage and gave me a big hug…

Yes indeed…  It’s a grand ole’ time had by all…  Until the day that green guy showed up.


It was the 8:30am service and I was supposed to kick off Song #1 with a punchy U2 inspired lick that would set the stage for the kids.  They had been practicing this for weeks & would be cueing off of this lick so they’d know where to start singing.  It really was a good plan…

What happened next is still a mystery to me…  I fretted the chord shape as I had every other time & struck the strings with all the confidence of a veteran player at this thing.  What came out however was the most atonal, unrecognizable arrangements of notes possibly ever heard by the human ear.  I’m pretty sure it looked or sounded something like this to the parents, but honestly, there was no way I was making eye contact to verify…

grinch-stealing-gifts

I can’t accurately describe the levels of hell that my perfectionist heart sank to in that particular moment…  But I’m now convinced that Dante left out a few…

Over the next several split-seconds, here’s the run down of what my brain managed to process…

  1. What the heck just happened?
  2. Do I remember the actual correct notes to play & can I find them?
  3. Where can I hide at the end of the service?

Somehow… In all of that, I found my footing by end of the next measure & gave the kids just enough lead in so that even greater catastrophe was averted.  After I eventually crawled out from under the rock I found, I reflected on some advice that a wise old musician had bestowed upon me…


PRACTICE YOUR MISTAKES!!!!!

Wait…What did he just say?!?!?…

Yes my friends… As much as we practice to prevent making mistakes, it’s also important to practice them…  I realize that this may sound like something Yoda would say, so explain it I will…

In your preparation for serving on any given Sunday, you should definitely practice your parts in such a way that it leads to making fewer mistakes.  However, at some point…  usually late in the week of preparation (ie. between Rehearsal & Sunday Morning)… its important to start practicing your mistakes as well…  What I mean by that is, as you run through the music, if you make a mistake… KEEPING PLAYING…  Do not stop, rewind, & try again mid-song…  Play through it, all the way to the end…  THEN start the song over again from the beginning & try to eliminate the mistake on the 2nd take.

Why is this important?  Well, when you make a mistake live, a number of things happen internally… I’m talking now about the adrenaline surge you’re probably going to feel.  There is no rewind button when you go live…  All you can do is go forward…  So you need to learn how to manage through that stress at home or it could lead even more mistakes in a live setting.  Creating a little internal pressure by telling yourself up front that you’re going to “practice this like its live”, just adds to the “realness” of the experience.

Practice this often enough & you’ll be able to manage the live miscues without too much trouble.  And if not, take heart…  Studies show that 80% of the time, the congregation doesn’t even know when you’ve messed up…  Unless its Christmas & the kids are singing…

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