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

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


As I said before, I think your site is outstanding. I have spent my life teaching adults difficult stuff that they really wanted to learn but didn't have the time to learn at the speed we teach university students. Thus I understand only too well how many hundreds of hours you must have spent perfecting your lessons to make my learning as quick and easy as possible.


-Mike Barron

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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