quote peter drucker
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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

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.


Hi Allen,
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.

The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.


-Rodger Paylor

Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.


-Michel Donnet


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