What To Do When the Music Stops

Have you ever been accompanying and had the singer or instrumentalist stop in the middle of the song? Maybe they forgot the words, maybe they started to cry, or maybe they turned too many pages at once, etc.

We all hope these scenarios never happen, but they probably will sometime. Here are a couple examples that happened to me:

·         Instrumentalist – forgot to take a repeat, realized the mistake, stopped and started again. (This is particularly tough because instrumentalists do not have words that you can follow!)

·         Small vocal ensemble – Half the group paused for the interlude while the other half started right into the next verse. I kept playing (something) and waited to see what the majority would do.

·         Soloist – started the song on the wrong note, stopped and asked me to start the song over again.

·         Soloist – overcome with the emotion of the song, stopped and asked me to start over at the second verse of the song.

It is the least distracting if the music continues playing while the musicians get their composure or find their place. Since this does not always happen, we just have to make the best of it. It is always a good idea to discuss this possibility in practice and have a plan in case one of these scenarios happens in performance.


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