Quote Pele

Pele on practicing


Okay…. everything is practice…sure. But how exactly is “everything” practice? And practice for what?

My suspicion is that soccer/futbol legend Pelé was always observing how things moved. I bet he was always playing with balance and motion. These were the raw ingredients with which he created his magic, so it makes sense he wouldn’t limit them to the field.

But what about us? As normal people living our lives, going through our days, playing some guitar now and then, what does the “Everything is Practice” idea have to do with us?

Or maybe the a better question would be, “How can everything become practice?” or, “How can my guitar playing benefit from other activities throughout the day?”

Much of getting better at guitar has to do with learning to use the appropriate amount of tension at each moment. We usually use too much tension in some places and not enough in others.

So one way we can turn “everything” into practice is to notice how much tension we use to perform our everyday tasks, like…

  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Driving
  • Surfing the web
  • Just sitting around

In each moment, we can observe how much tension we’re using in our hands, shoulders, face, wherever. And if it seems like more than necessary, we can release some of it.

Over time, this will allow us to do the same while we play guitar. Before we know it, we have a different way of moving and being on the guitar.

Guitar is complex, with many different things to think about. Tension usually goes unnoticed until it hurts. If we choose, mundane activities can become the training ground for effortless, fluid music-making. If we decide, everything is practice.

Everything is practice.


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.

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

Great Work!!!  I thank you sincerely for all the effort you have put in and the terrific work you do for the classical guitar community.


Become a Member and Play More, Beautifully!

“The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
Charles Poliquin  

Join the program that takes you from the beginning fundamentals to advanced mastery, so you…

  • Move your hands safely and fluidly

  • Enjoy fulfilling practices and meaningful work

  • Play beautifully with expression and flow

Click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice. >>>

Featured Courses

jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical pieces.

See more...

read music guitar high positions notes

Play and Read Music in the Higher Positions

Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck.

See more...

how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

« » page 1 / 2

See more…