Host: Daria Binkowski (@dariabinkowski), arts admin and performer.

Let’s admit it. We’re all $&!%-ups. Mistakes are inevitable in life and performance. What can we glean from our forays into failure? Is there a split between the new music community and the traditional classical music community in their acceptance of mistakes, or aberrations in performance? How does this affect composition, performances, and career trajectory? Have mistakes lead to the discovery of a new technique or timbre? Do they make you a better teacher? And in promoting new music and being entrepreneurs in our craft of necessity, what has worked, what didn’t and why?


  • Q1: Let’s start with the basics. How do you define “failure” or a “mistake” in a music world context?
  • Q2: Are mistakes different in new music than in “traditional” classical music? Is new music more accepting of aberrations and why? Performers, do you feel the same freedom to not be perfect in new music?
  • Q3: What has been your most productive failure as a composer or performer?
  • Q4: In new music, we often have to wear all hats: composer, performer, producer, and general entrepreneur. What kinds of mistakes have you made in the “business” side of new music? What advice would you give?
  • Q5: Does failure make you a better teacher? Why and how?

You can read the full discussion on Storify.

Photo: On mistakes: the top line is Telemann’s score. Middle line is his version of how he would play it. (Via @kurtknecht)