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

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.


This is the ideal starting position for me. As a relative beginner with no teacher this is helping me enormously in developing good technique and not falling into bad habits. I no longer feel (A) That it's a struggle to learn a new piece and (B) That I am alone in my endeavors. My advice is to try The Woodshed program. It is fantastic and will not only bring up your playing but his explanations of musical concepts as you go along put things into perspective.


-John Andersson

Those videos on practicing the piece were just awesome, Allen! I've always thought that learning songs might be something completely different than practicing exercises, but the way you teach it makes it much easier than I thought. I'm positive that joining the Woodshed has been the best investment I've ever done for learning the classical guitar. Thank you so much for these lessons.


-Ulysses Alexandre Alves


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