oscar wilde guitar quote
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Oscar Wilde on Moderation and Excess in Guitar Practice

 

We strive to be prudent and rational. We aim for temperance and restraint.

And most of the time, this is well and good.

But on occasion, we need to balance all this moderation with some healthy excess.

The ideal guitar practice touches on several areas of study. It may contain technique, new pieces of music, older pieces of music and more.

But what about those days when our minds aren’t in it? On those days, it can be therapeutic to dig into scales or exercises for the entire practice. We can get out of our heads and into the physical challenges of moving our hands. We can take the mental load off and put the physical load on.

On a different day, we may not feel like doing scales or exercises. We may become enamored with a new piece of music, and want to spend every minute working on it.

And that’s perfectly fine. Wonderful, even.

Someone once said of dietary choices, “It’s not what we do one day a week that matters – it’s what we do six days a week that counts.”

And the same holds true in guitar practice.

We can aim for a well-balanced practice routine. And if we hold to it most days, we can safely go “off the rails” once in a while.

Problems only arise when we ignore important areas in our practice. As long as we’re getting our “minimum daily allowance” of everything, we can skip a day here or there and not see any ill-effects (just like overeating on holidays).

Even more dangerous than occasional excess is constant rigidity. We’re in service to our musical growth, yes. But we’re also in service to our whims and passions. (At least in moderation!)


“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Oscar Wilde




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 am truly enjoying the growth and challenge that the Woodshed material provides.  I look forward to working hard and learning much in the years ahead.  Thanks for all the effort and care that you have taken in providing these lessons and resources!


-Mark Whitsett

Hi Allen, just wanted to provide some feedback. Since I've started doing the exercises [in The Woodshed program] my guitar is sounding a lot better, with fuller sound, less effort. Its as if I bought a new guitar or got a new pair of hands (or both). Amazing my friend. Thank you!


-Nusret Aydemir


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