Albert Schweitzer guitar practice
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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.”

Albert Schweitzer




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.


These warm-up and stretching exercises are helping me a lot! Because I’m a software developer I have to stay 8 hours typing on a computer keyboard, so I use my hands a lot during the day. At night, when I have some time to practice the guitar my hands and arms are usually in pain because they have been working a lot during the day, but I’ve found that doing the warm-up/stretching exercises in The Woodshed releases me from this pain and I’m then able to practice after doing them.  

You are building a very interesting and working guitar course, because for what I’ve seen so far it really works!


-Ulysses Alexandre Alves

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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