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Aaron Shearer on How to Reach Your Musical Potential


Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!]


“The reason so many guitarists fail to reach their potential is error filled repetition, aka not knowing exactly how to do each movement!”

Aaron Shearer


Repetition is a big part of learning any instrument or skill. The goal is to ingrain a series of actions into our memory (mental, aural and “muscle” memories). To do this, we need to perform those actions many times.

There are two common pitfalls on this path. The first is not knowing what needs to happen. This is what the legendary classical guitar teacher Aaron Shearer is referring to when he says, “not knowing how to do each movement”.

This is more than just “what note is this”. Knowing how to do each movement requires us to slow down and look at how each finger moves.

It’s how one note connects to the next. It’s how the fingers work together. It’s form, positioning and movement. And it’s tying these in with the demands of the music (tone, volume, speed, etc.). Together, these are called “technique”.

The second pitfall is mindless repetition. When we fail to understand the movements needed, we may attempt to use brute force to smooth out the rough spots. We assume that if we play something enough times, everything will work out.

But this rarely, if ever, works. We use our hard work to embed problems in our memory. So we get very practiced at making the same mistakes.

Fine woodworking is defined by the details and quality of every joint and finish. Our playing also needs this attention to detail and quality. With it, we’re far more likely to reach our potential.


“The reason so many guitarists fail to reach their potential is error filled repetition, aka not knowing exactly how to do each movement!”

Aaron Shearer









Allen Mathews

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 schooling, 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 often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two stellar teachers – one focused on the technical, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully. Click here for a sample formula.




I just upgraded. I have been thinking about it since day one, but wanted to see how it works out for me. I have to say, even though I did not put as much effort in as I expected to, I already hear and feel Improvements when playing compositions I learned some time ago, before joining The Woodshed.

Thanks!


-Alexey Neyman

Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders



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