quote peter drucker

Peter Drucker on sacrificing perfection for beauty


Our goals as guitarists should not be limited to playing the right notes at the right time.

Any computer can do that.

Our goals can extend to our

  • focus and attention
  • muscular poise
  • volume of each note
  • connection of one note to the next
  • feeling each string beneath our fingers
  • rhythmic “aliveness” and momentum
  • tone quality
  • and anything else we dream up.

Of course we want to play cleanly and accurately. That goes without saying. We’re always working on that. We consistently study the basics and continue to hone our technique.

But when cleanliness becomes the only goal, it’s a hollow victory. Youtube is full of note-perfect (but perfectly boring) performances.

It’s Citizen Kane all over again. When we get to the top of the note-perfect mountain, we find there’s still something lacking. Note-perfect playing won’t make us happy.

It’s a myth that we can get the notes perfect then add the “beauty” or “expression” later. It rarely, if ever, happens.

Instead, we can add swells and fades to whatever we’re playing right now. We can listen to each note and how it connects to the next right now. We can notice our muscles and our internal chatter right now.

We don’t have to save that for later. It’s the good stuff – why not lead with it?

And if that means we miss a note here or there, well then it’s worth it. It’s better to sacrifice perfection in the name of beauty than to sacrifice beauty in the name of perfection.

The joy of playing classical guitar extends beyond the prize (the perfect performance). It’s the daily journey and how we travel it. That’s where we find the gold. That’s where we discover the humanity, in both the music and in ourselves.

“Performance is not hitting the bull’s-eye with every shot – that is a circus act.”

Peter Drucker

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.

Allen Mathews was recommended to me as somebody who could help me expand my guitar vocabulary.  Allen started me on a really fun cycle of lessons and practice.  He is a very good,and very enthusiastic teacher, and I feel that I'm on the road to learning.  I couldn't be more pleased with my experience.

-Peter Buck (r.e.m.)

I appreciate the organized, well thought out progression of each level, as well as a measurable means to determine when to proceed to the next level.  I had burned myself out by pushing too hard and playing beyond where I was comfortable.  This course is just what I needed, and I am happy to be back on the road to playing again.


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