Brian Christian and the Art of Regret Prevention
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“In the long run, optimism is the best prevention for regret.”Brian Christian
In many ways, guitar practice is like life in miniature. We make choices, face trials and overcome obstacles.
We win, we lose, we succeed, we fail. And sometimes we’re not sure whether we came out on top or not.
Guitar is challenging. And so is managing our energy, attention and time. There’s no guarantee that we’ll enjoy any single practice. Or make progress and see results from the time we spend.
So how do we keep showing up and putting in the effort? What’s the fuel that keeps our momentum and restarts us after a break?
Sure, we could list a thousand reasons why we may never play like the “big guys”. But we can still remain upbeat and optimistic.
But how do we do keep the positive attitude?
One way is to think of guitar as an infinite game. An “infinite game” is one we play for the fun of playing. There is no winner or loser – the only point is to play.
There may be points won or lost along the way. But these matter less than the game itself.
Like wolf-cubs wrestling or the Sunday crossword, it’s just something fun to do. Sure we try our best, and it feels great to come out on top. But it doesn’t really matter.
Guitar is a long-term relationship. And many (most?) people who quit regret it later on. So one of the main goals is to just keep going. To not quit. And to start back up after breaks.
Optimism is choosing that our goals ARE possible, if we but stay in the game. Or at worst, that taking the daily swing is reward enough.
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 schooling, 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 often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two stellar teachers – one focused on the technical, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully. Click here for a sample formula.
Thanks to you (you are my only teacher) in only a few months I've gone from very basic beginner pieces to having just completed learning Bach's Gavottes 1&2 in good form and execution. As a non-classical electric guitarist who has always used a pick and never his fingers, this has been no small feat!
Those videos on practicing the piece were just awesome, Allen! I've always thought that learning songs might be something completely different than practicing exercises, but the way you teach it makes it much easier than I thought. I'm positive that joining the Woodshed has been the best investment I've ever done for learning the classical guitar. Thank you so much for these lessons.
-Ulysses Alexandre Alves
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