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We’ve all had some embarrassing moments in our lives. Especially for performers, we’ve had our fair share of embarrassing moments. Or if you haven’t, you’ve at least had some daymares or nightmares about what could go wrong.

This week, I talk about one of my most embarrassing moments onstage, in front of a whole orchestra. And it might have happened more than once. Read on to find out more!

If you’d rather listen instead of reading, check out the podcast version below! There’s also a video version on YouTube found below:

Hey guys! It’s Ms. Chelsea here. Today I’m going to talk to you about one of my most embarrassing moments in a performance setting, onstage.

Setting the Stage: Where it happened, before it happened

So a few years ago, I went and did the Vier Letzte Lieder with the Amherst Symphony Orchestra (I’ll leave a link to the video below). We did “Four Last Songs” by Strauss.

And it’s a beautiful, beautiful set.

So it was just a weekend thing where they flew me out—I think maybe on a Friday. And then I had a rehearsal with the orchestra, a dress rehearsal.

Big stage with orchestra

And then the next day was the performance—it was an amazing experience, I loved doing it! Marcus is an amazing conductor, and it was just such a wonderful thing to to do with him and be a part of that.

So at the dress rehearsal, I usually typically try to wear the shoes that I will be performing in if I’m doing some kind of dress rehearsal, just to get a feel for it.

Like, is it something that’s really clunky on the stage when you’re walking? Or anything I need to be aware of. Is it a little slippery? That sort of thing.

Big stage with orchestra

And so I was wearing some heels; it wasn’t a big heel or anything, it was just my typical, standard performance heels. And I was walking up…

So this was the dress rehearsal, meaning the whole orchestra was onstage waiting for me to come up.

And I was walking up the stairs and right at the last stair to the top of the stage—boom!

I fell flat on my face!

I mean, a lot of people joke about that, but they’ve never really done it. Oh yeah, I have done that!

And so I got up, and I just kind of laughed it off a little bit. They were so polite, like seriously! These orchestra members were so polite to the point where I was like, “Did you- did you not see that?”

Orchestra members playing violin

I mean nobody was outright laughing at me or anything like that. They were amazing about it, but i was so embarrassed… beyond embarrassed!

And here’s the best part of the story though. So I went back down, and then I was supposed to go up again and do something after. They were working on another thing so I got to sit in the audience and listen to them.

And then I was supposed to go back up on the stage and do something again. The second time that I went…

The same exact thing happened!

Woman covering her face in embarrassment

I kid you not. I fell flat on my face in front of a full orchestra twice! Two times in a row! I did that.

I mean there’s probably some people that can say they fell flat on their face in front of an audience or onstage… but I managed to do it twice. Twice, okay?

What did we learn?

So what did that teach me? I really can’t take myself too seriously.

There are going to be all sorts of things that happen in life—all sorts of blunders and mistakes. Especially being in a performer in the performance kind of career, that’s going to happen to me a lot. I think it really comes down to how we respond to that.

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So I could get all upset (and of course I was embarrassed) but it’s one thing to get embarrassed and and throw a big ordeal or a big fit about it, and it’s another thing to be like, “Ah whatever, just falling flat on my face in front of a huge orchestra! No biggie there!”

So that’s one thing that I’ve learned from it. Because yes, the mistakes are going to come, and I can’t take myself too seriously. And when you think about it: what does it mean? It means that I’m a human being. I think that a lot of times, there’s this expectation that everything has to look perfect, to sound perfect, all of the time.

But that’s not how life is. Half the time, I’m a hot mess, and so I think it’s realistic to embrace the fact that there are going to be mistakes. There are going to be blunders and things to make me feel self-conscious, to make me feel nervous.

And that’s okay! It’s just part of life. It’s part of being a human. It’s one thing where I can say,

Alright, I embrace it all, so bring on the blunders!

(Hopefully i’m not jinxing anything, knock on wood! Hopefully I’m not bringing on some huge embarrassing moments.)

But you know what, if they are? I just have to use them to be a real person and to feel like I can connect with people. Because there’s so many opportunities for mistakes in front of people as well.

Friends laughing

So I hope you enjoyed that story. What are your most embarrassing moments that you’ve had? Whether you’re a student or a performer, a student performer or a teacher, a music teacher… I want to hear!

Please tell me your stories to make me feel better and make me feel like I’m not the only one. Have any of you fallen flat on your face? Tell me in the comments below; that will really make my day and I won’t feel so alone!