bream banana guitar

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Julian Bream on banana fingers and showing up anyway

 

Julian Bream is one of classical guitar’s most colorful characters. He used to book all his own world tours and travel arrangements – by mail! Then he’d travel by train and boat to perform, learning the next season’s music as he went.

His upbeat attitude and love of music won fans everywhere he went.

This funny quote is typical Bream: honest, realistic, and willing to keep going.

In our own practices, it’s easy to get discouraged.

We may be having a crisis of faith, or just on a plateau (where all the good stuff really happens, though it doesn’t feel like it).

We may get busy and miss a few days, and feel like we’re backsliding.

We may look ahead and wonder if we’re up for the journey.

Bream fell a few years ago while out walking his dog and can no longer play. But he still studies music. He says he’s a much better musician now than he was 10 years ago (though he can’t prove it).

He told The Guardian, “The whole idea is that I believe it’s very good for one’s brain and muscular system to work in harmony. If you keep up your playing it just keeps things ticking over.”

The point is not to gain some goal or reach some pinnacle of accomplishment. Instead, the joy lies in showing up and spending the time. The point isn’t to play perfectly. We strive, but perfection is not the point. The point is just to sit down and play (even if our fingers are bananas and it’s an earplug job!)


“My fingers are like a bunch of bananas, so tonight’s concert in Aalst may well be an earplug job.”

Julian Bream




allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


Allen Mathews was recommended to me as somebody who could help me expand my guitar vocabulary.  Allen started me on a really fun cycle of lessons and practice.  He is a very good,and very enthusiastic teacher, and I feel that I'm on the road to learning.  I couldn't be more pleased with my experience.


-Peter Buck (r.e.m.)

Great advise here. I find I am taking more time with the pieces than I would have in the past as I am focusing on the technique you have taught me. It is slower going at first but has fewer frustrations, is easier and sounds better in the end.


-Karen Richardson


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