quote Madeline L'Engle
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Madeleine L’Engle on nurturing your guitar practice

Though I’m not blessed with children of my own, I worked with them for years. Some moments they’re pure joy. Other times… not so much. Guitar practice is similar in this respect.

When a relationship is fun and exciting, it’s easy. Those moments are golden. Effortless.

But eventually we feel friction. It may even feel futile. We don’t feel like showing up. It just seems hard or irritating. This may last for a few seconds, or it could last longer.

It’s these moments that require love. Love for ourselves and our larger commitments and desires. Love for music.

Our daily guitar practice is like a child. It’s a relationship. It’s something we nurture with our attention and time. That’s why it’s meaningful.

Love is a verb, not a noun. Love is what we do, even if we don’t feel like it, or it’s not convenient.


“Love isn’t how you feel, it’s what you do.”

Madeleine L’Engle




allen mathews classical 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 work with teachers, 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 sore after playing.  I was frequently frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward.  Then I studied with two stellar teachers –  one focused on the technical, and one on the musical.  In time, I came to discover a fundamental set of formulas and movements. These unlocked my playing, and brought new life and enjoyment to my practice. Now I help other guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.


I think the program levels are a great way to teach the guitar. I have had several teachers over the past few years and none came close to the structured organization that you have put together.


-Peter Marior

Hello Allen,
I feel my guitar proficiency is improving considerably. Every day I’m exceedingly comfortable with my right hand technique and overall fluency. And my sight-reading has improved as well. Thank you for creating the Woodshed. It’s thoughtful construction and scope and sequence of knowledge and skills has advanced my guitar skills significantly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


-Michael Immel


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Charles Poliquin  

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  • Move your hands safely and fluidly

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  • Play beautifully with expression and flow

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