bob ross guitar practice

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Bob Ross on Talent and Practice

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


“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

Bob Ross


Many of us grew up believing that “talent” is something you either have or you don’t. It’s something some lucky people were born with. The rest of us “just aren’t talented.”

But talent is a myth. It’s a fancy word describing the outcome of practice.

A musician playing note-perfect Bach has “talent”. But even if we tie the most perfect knot, no one will ever tell us we have a “talent” for tying shoes. We do it well because we’ve done it enough times to master the skills involved.

Music is the same. If we put in time, we get better. This is true for us all.

That said, some people do seem to have an easier time of it than others.

The people for whom it seems to come more easily are likely very interested in it. They are curious. They ask questions and seek answers.

This heightened engagement makes each lesson come quicker. It makes practice more fun. It leads to more practice, and quicker improvement.

The key to steady growth on our instruments is interest. As long as we stay engaged, we build the skills needed to meet new challenges. These new challenges pique our interest, and a virtuous cycle is born.

Instead of holding back because we lack “talent”, we can instead take responsibility.

We’re either interested and engaged or we’re not. If it’s something we’d like to do, then our job is to get interested and get engaged.

And we do this by looking closer at the details, asking questions, and trying new things.


“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

Bob Ross




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.


Hello Allen,
I feel my guitar proficiency is improving considerably. Every day I’m exceedingly comfortable with my right hand technique and overall fluency. And my sight-reading has improved as well. Thank you for creating the Woodshed. It’s thoughtful construction and scope and sequence of knowledge and skills has advanced my guitar skills significantly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


-Michael Immel

Your GCS site and The Woodshed community are really super! I am glad I finally joined in, and smacking myself for waiting so long. Thanks again!


-Carol Morin


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