Yikes! Revelations of an Embarrassing Performance
Have you ever messed up a presentation, speech or performance big time? Have you ever gone so off-track, that you shudder when you think back to the experience?
Last weekend, a friend and I performed a song that did not go as planned.
We met up early the night of the show to rehearse, and it quickly became clear that neither of us were fully prepared.
“I’m not very good at remembering lyrics,” my friend Josh warned me. “Don’t worry,” I responded. “You’re a musical therapist. You do this for a living. You’ll be fine.”
We practiced and practiced, looping our way through the lyrics of “Miss You” by Rolling Stones. We talk-sung our way through the song. We performed it to a group of passersby on the street. We even acted out the lyrics, to help cement them in our minds.
Still, we were feeling shaky. Some of the verses just weren’t sticking. “I’ve been stumbling on my feet, I’ve been shuffling through the street” always turned into “I’ve been stumbling on the street, I’ve been shuffling on my feet.” “You’ve been starring in my dreams” always became “You’ve beenstaring in my dreams.” You might say we had some pre-performance butterflies.
We began setting up in our designated performance area, and Josh mentioned: “Just a heads up – the plug on my amp might not work. You might need to get off your chair in the middle of our song to jiggle it a little.”
Uh okay. Great start.
The first half of the show began and we nervously continued talk-singing in the back and confidently reassuring ourselves, “We got this! Belt it! Own it! Just give it all you’ve got.”
Then it was our turn.
We began on track, feeling the excitement of the crowd and the blinding lights on our faces. Then the first of many things went wrong.
I felt someone tap me on the back and I turned to find the technician standing behind me. “Your mic’s out. You’re gonna have to share Josh’s mic.”
Okay, this was not as rehearsed.
I shuffled my chair over and furtively pulled the other mic stand towards the middle of our chairs.
From there, things just got wonkier.
Josh jumped into the chorus when we were beginning the third verse. From there, who knows what happened. We skipped to a line from the fourth verse, then threw in a line from the second. Threw in some harmonizing. Threw in some ooohhhs. Threw in some ahhhhhs, some light playing and some clapping.
Before we knew it, it was all over. We glanced at each other uneasily, and I laughed under my breath, thinking nervously of the embarrassment we would have to endure.
What’s funny is when we joined the crowd after our song, people began approaching us and saying, “You guys sounded great! You were amazing! Sweet cover of the song!”
Nobody had noticed a single thing out of place.
Here’s what I took away from the experience:
1. When it comes to presenting, things don’t always go as planned.
2. Most of the time – you’re the only one who notices.
3. Don’t ignore your nerves. Learn to love them.
4. There is something very reassuring about knowing your next presentation can only get better.