Alan Watts and Playing the Wrong Note

Alan Watts spoke about a piano teacher who would hit his fingers with a ruler whenever he played a wrong note. But later, a skilled pianist told him that it is perfectly fine to play the wrong notes when playing a piece as long as he doesn’t break the pace, that he doesn’t break the rhythm. That it is better to sacrifice a note than the sacrifice the flow of a piece.

Play it slowly, play it at a snail’s pace, hit the wrong notes, but keep your rhythm and flow consistent across the entire song. That was the key.

We are bound to make many mistakes in our lives, but we must keep pace. We must keep going as we were. We should learn from them, of course, and do our best not to make the mistake again, to exist in that paradoxical space between firmness and gentleness as we recognize our mistake but forgive ourselves for it.

But the best way to embrace and accept our mistakes is to keep charging ahead, at the same pace. To play the fucking note, even if it’s the wrong one.

Because I think once we keep charging ahead, by keeping the same rhythm within our lives despite mistakes, we’re able to maintain a much stronger and clearer idea of our Self. We become better in touch with our intuition, which might lead us to make mistakes, but as we know, mistakes are part of the game of life anyway, just like when you play a new piece on the piano. And it’s a manifestation and a reminder that mistakes are fine.

Play the fucking note, the wrong one even, as long as you keep your rhythm going. Learn from them, understand that it is wrong, but be gentle about it. This consistency makes you more aware of your Self and your intuition.