marilyn monroe guitar great
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Marilyn Monroe on how to make something good even better

 

When we take on a complex skill such as learning the classical guitar, we’re bound to learn something that we need to change later.

It happens to us all. We do our best with what we know. But eventually we know more, and recognize new opportunities for improvement.

Some call it “creative destruction”. Some call it “breaking eggs to make an omelet”.

Some say that “what gets you out of Egypt won’t get you to the Promised Land”.

Eventually, we have to release what we know or do and start fresh with something different.

It can be hard to swallow. We may resist it. But if we’re honest, we usually know it’s for the best.

It’s tempting to mourn “lost time”, or feel it’s a setback.

But it couldn’t be any other way. We had to learn as we did to get to this point. And to move ahead, we may have to accept our limitations and “start over”.

But it’s not starting over. We bring all we’ve learned with us. We grow stronger for the new perspectives and challenges.

Sure, we may not sound as good for a little while, but this pulling back creates the momentum to thrust us forward to the next level and beyond.

We’re pruning. We’re culling. We’re winding the spring.

And to feel good about letting “things fall apart so better things can fall together”, we have to keep the big picture in mind.

It’s not about one piece of music. It’s not about being “right”, or being at a certain level (“I’m a Grade 6 player, so I’m beyond XYZ…”).

We live on a constant growth curve. The more we can stay objective and unattached, the more versatile and flexible we become.

Instead of protecting and guarding what we already know, we can open to new opportunities and ideas. We can take a childlike attitude of openness, and then make educated decisions based on honest review and experimentation.

There’s an age-old proverb that we can “never step in the same stream twice”, because the water has changed and so have we. We grow as musicians with any focused practice we do, even if we decide to go another route later.


“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Marilyn Monroe




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.


Your GCS site and The Woodshed community are really super! I am glad I finally joined in, and smacking myself for waiting so long. Thanks again!


-Carol Morin

Hi Allen,
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.

The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.


-Rodger Paylor


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