Beethoven basically said that playing a wrong note, that is insignificant. Are you playing with passion? That is the more important question. It applies for singing as much as for instruments, acting, dancing, storytelling.....
I had the great pleasure of sitting third row center stage at Orchestra Hall in Chicago this week to watch The Soweto Gospel Choir perform. I never once doubted their passion for their music and their performance.
At one point, after they had magnificently performed Sarah Mclachlan's "In The Arms Of The Angel" one of the younger women was obviously overtaken with emotion and was doing her best to smile while wiping tears and it seemed a great struggle for her. Without turning to her or ignoring her, the woman to her left reached out her arm and rubbed her fellow singer's back just long enough to comfort but not be distracting.
I could not help but think that THIS, THIS is what happens when the passion of our performance is allowed to surface and bring with it our joys and sorrows and our struggles for healing. I was in love with everyone of those men and women as we all stood and danced in the rows and sang with them and applauded them as they left the stage.
That kind of depth of experience is why I feel so strongly that music and performance is a great healer.... that exposing yourself as you plumb the depths of your own experience and share that with your audience....that is the gift, for both you and them.
Now maybe you are someone whose music or performance art is in comedy... The same applies for you. I'm not a comedienne....but I sure know when someone has made me laugh at the truth of a situation I value them as much as the serious, thoughtful and the dreamy performances.
In fact, I admit to some envy of those who can find the humor with just the right words and actions to use and defuse the otherwise difficult conflicts that arise in our lives. This takes a certain risk and courage to show us how ridiculous we sometimes are in our expectations of life and relationships and circumstances. If you are one of these people...I say "Hooray!" I am so grateful for your skill and passion and often, the wrong note there...well....that ends up being just the right note to play....
Here's to the passion of performance!