Amelia Earhart guitar practice

[Quote] 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 ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


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.  

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