Amelia Earhart guitar practice

Amelia Earhart on keeping guitar practice alive

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

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

Amelia Earhart

Some days, the hardest note is the first one we play. We can experience massive internal resistance to picking up the guitar.

On any given day, we can love music, but not feel like practicing. We can want to practice. We can be proud of yesterday’s practice. And still have a hard time getting started today.

This is one of the reasons routine is so important. It’s much easier to practice when it’s something we do at X-o’clock every weekday. When we have to decide, “do I…”, the answer is far more likely to be “no.”

In this quote by Amelia Earhart, she boils it down to this formula: first a decision, then tenacity.

But this fails to take into account the wind in the sails. It doesn’t mention that force which, once under way, can keep us moving forward. This force is momentum.

We are humans with egos and emotions and moods. Momentum can make the difference between a lifelong pursuit, and a failed attempt.

Tenacity takes willpower, and willpower is fickle. Willpower can jump ship if we’re hungry or tired, or mildly distracted. Tenacity takes work, and sometimes we’re just not up to it.

But momentum, born of habit and routine, can negate the need for willpower or tenacity. Tenacity pushes, momentum pulls.

First we make the decision to act. Then we continue. Under way, our tenacity is best spent creating the habits that will compel us forward, tenacity or not.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

Amelia Earhart

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

Allen, your website and teaching methods are excellent. You have an easy going yet encouraging way of inspiring people to learn and practice their art. And you are always accessible to your students to personally answer questions. I appreciate ... that personal touch. The course on reading rhythm and playing higher up the neck I found particularly helpful. God bless you and many thanks.

-Joe Bazan

I am a 61 year old physician, reconnecting with the classical guitar after a hiatus of nearly 40 years. After a couple of weeks [in the program], I’m now producing a much clearer, yet somehow more mellow and beautiful sound. It was really good to feel it happening in my hand, and that it felt more comfortable and somehow “right”, compared to the way I had played before (“curved picking”). The fog started to lift and I found that I was remembering more, and it felt great (also a bit of a relief!), giving me confidence to keep going. Thank you for making your course available - your love of music and the guitar shines through the teaching. I am very happy I found and registered with CGS.

-Brian Davey

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