One of the things orchestra is teaching me is not to stop every time I make a mistake.
In practice, if I miss a note or hit the wrong note, or catch some funky tone on a note my instinct is to stop, correct it, and then back up a measure or two and play it through correctly at least a couple of times. I thought this strategy worked pretty well.
Turns out, for orchestra, not so much. I miss a note and nobody stops. In fact, if i spend too long trying to figure out what went wrong and fix it I will be so far behind I’ll never catch up. Which often happens in Rondeau, leaving me playing air cello until I find my place or the song ends, whichever comes first. Insert panic here.
In surfing blogs I came on this post by a piano teacher about dealing with the dreaded “wrong note” here’s an tidbit:
The typical approach to wrong notes is simply to “correct” them each time one is played, that is, to stop, play the intended note, and then move on…When we perform in public, it is universally understood that it is verboten to stop to correct, yet somehow people cling to the belief that they can stop and correct in their daily practice, but when they get on stage they will be able to continue without stopping should a mishap occur. Obviously this isn’t the case.
She then poses a few methods to help handle the appearance of a wrong note in run through. I don’t hold the fact that she’s talking piano (not cello) against her 😉 I think a very similar thing applies to strings. Certainly there is a place for correction – usually early on with a new piece as part of my breaking it down (aka how slow can you go) practice. But after a certain point, missing a note is no excuse to stop the whole show. So my new motto is more like “play through the pain” or as the Brits said:
Now, if only I can manage to not make a horrible stinky diaper face when I miss a note: a dead giveaway that I have done something wrong to anyone watching.
Eh. Work in Progress.