thoreau quote
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Henry David Thoreau on Hard Work

Playing classical guitar is so much work.

It’s an ongoing, never-ending quest to master the athletic finger acrobatics. It’s breathing life into stale notes on a page. It’s practicing and training and honing and polishing. Then doing it all over again.

Yet, it’s so good!

How wonderful to have such an endeavor to look forward to each day. How lucky we are to have a vehicle in which to explore and expand the limits of our abilities.

Sure, it’s a lot of work to play classical guitar. But therein lies the beauty.

Look with affection on your ax! Relish your woodpile!

Every man looks at his woodpile with a kind of affection.

Henry David Thoreau



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 have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.


-Harlan Friedman

Thanks to you (you are my only teacher) in only a few months I've gone from very basic beginner pieces to having just completed learning Bach's Gavottes 1&2 in good form and execution. As a non-classical electric guitarist who has always used a pick and never his fingers, this has been no small feat!


-Gregg Olson


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Charles Poliquin  

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