The notes that you missed

Chances are we didn’t notice. 

Playing in piano recitals as a kid, any missed note would throw me off entirely. I’d stop to correct it, or smile sheepishly towards the audience, as if to assure them that, yes, I realized I had messed up. 

The voice of the critic often follows right on the heels of anything we say or do. This auto-correct makes us self-conscious, reminds us of each fault. The critic deceives us by telling us that everyone else also noticed, and is probably laughing at us right now. 

But they didn’t, and they aren’t. The audience doesn’t know what you meant to play, they only hear what you are playing. (And they usually have a pretty bad memory as well.)

Practice, rehearse, and sweat over the details. But once you step on the stage, in the words of Charlie Parker, forget all that bull shit and just play.