Coach Dean Smith on How to Deal with Mistakes
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“What do you do with a mistake? Recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”Dean Smith
Many players, when first learning to read music, find it very challenging. This is normal.
Learning to play from musical notation takes time and work. With each practice, we fail over and over again.
This is true for many elements of learning guitar. But sight-reading music notation seems to bring out the emotions in many people.
For others, it’s the small mistakes that show up in pieces we “should be able to play by now”.
The trick, as legendary coach Dean Smith says, is to suck the marrow from the mistake, then move on.
Recognize it: Pay enough attention to recognize mistakes when they happen.
Admit it: Mistakes are part of the game. No need to deny mistakes or get offended. We’re not bad people – we simply messed up. And after all, a mistake is useful when we…
Forget it: Tomorrow we’ll have new mistakes to deal with. There’s no need to carry the current one with us. We can release it, re-fluff our feathers, and move on.
Learning guitar is a long-term relationship. Each day for (hopefully) decades we’ll sit down to work and practice. How we handle mistakes will be a determining factor in how much we learn and enjoy our time on guitar.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.
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This is the ideal starting position for me. As a relative beginner with no teacher this is helping me enormously in developing good technique and not falling into bad habits. I no longer feel (A) That it's a struggle to learn a new piece and (B) That I am alone in my endeavors. My advice is to try The Woodshed program. It is fantastic and will not only bring up your playing but his explanations of musical concepts as you go along put things into perspective.
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