Albert Schweitzer on Attention and Gratitude in Daily Practice
As we progress as musicians, we tackle the big new pieces. We learn the new finger acrobatic exercises. We challenge ourselves in new ways and at new levels.
And this is good. We need to ride the edge of “hard, but not too hard” to get better. And this includes learning pieces that stretch us.
But as we focus on the future and dive into large projects (or large for us, where we currently are), it’s easy to forget what Schweitzer calls “the flowers that bloom at our feet”.
These are the treasures we can enjoy right now, in this moment.
We can be grateful for the opportunity to explore such a beautiful instrument, and such beautiful music. We can note the joys of feeling our fingers on the strings. We can relish the current “problem” or challenge.
It’s easy to become so focused on the end result, that we forget to actually hear the sound coming out of our instrument.
This is a duality we can work on. We can learn to hold both sides: first, the moonshots and horizons, and second, the magic and marvel of daily practice.
“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”
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 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.
This is the ideal starting position for me. As a relative beginner with no teacher this is helping me enormously in developing good technique and not falling into bad habits. I no longer feel (A) That it's a struggle to learn a new piece and (B) That I am alone in my endeavors. My advice is to try The Woodshed program. It is fantastic and will not only bring up your playing but his explanations of musical concepts as you go along put things into perspective.
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