Michelangelo guitar practice
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Michelangelo on being nit-picky with practicing

As we learn guitar (classical guitar especially), we manage many differents areas. Technique, tunes, practice methods, personal discipline, and on and on.

When the list feels long, it’s easy to gloss over the fine details. Before we know it, we can fall into the trap of “ticking the boxes”, instead of savoring each item.

Beautiful music is made of tiny details: The connection of one note to another. Thoughtful decisions about a phrasing or fingering. Every little movement in a stroke of the hand. A seemingly obsessive preoccupation with trifles.

In our practice, we can give ourselves permission to nit-pick the trifles. It’s okay. Good even. It’s these little explorations that make the music so much more meaningful. And it’s these moments of curiosity and experimentation that make daily practice such a joy.


“Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle”.

Michelangelo


PS: If you like, next time you’re about to jump to the next thing in your practice, pause and consider whether you could go a little deeper before moving on. Could you focus more deeply on some small trifle? How close in can you zoom?



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.


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

I just want to thank you for your lessons. You are helping us to understand how a piece is composed, the parts to analyze and how to do it. You are teaching a lot about how to read and play, and the most important part: PLAY with the music and ENJOY it.


-R. Martinez


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