Bruce Lee guitar practice
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Bruce Lee on Why Goals Matter in Guitar Practice

They say that travelers on foot on snow-covered plains will throw a stone in the direction they want to go. Then they walk toward it. When they get there, they throw it again.

With the white stretching far in every direction, they could easily veer off-track and not know it. The stone gives them a respite from wondering. Instead of making a new decision with every step, they navigate only when they throw the stone.

In a land with no real landmarks, they create their own.

On guitar, we have infinite destinations we could aim for. But we often veer off-track before arriving. We become distracted by the next piece, the new exercise, the shiny new technique.

When this happens, we become confused. We sit down to practice and aren’t quite sure what to do. We dabble with this, then that, all the time wondering if we’re making any progress.

Pieces of music, target speeds for scales or exercises, a formal method or program – these all give our practice structure. These goals serve as landmarks to keep us on the path and moving forward.

Even if we don’t finish the piece of music, or reach the target speed, we still benefit from focused practice. And when we know what to do in advance, we can settle in and put our best attention on our work.

And attention and focus are the mechanisms by which we grow as musicians.

 


“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee




allen mathews classical guitar

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 work with teachers, 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 sore after playing.  I was frequently frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward.  Then I studied with two stellar teachers –  one focused on the technical, and one on the musical.  In time, I came to discover a fundamental set of formulas and movements. These unlocked my playing, and brought new life and enjoyment to my practice. Now I help other guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.


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.  

You are building a very interesting and working guitar course, because for what I’ve seen so far it really works!


-Ulysses Alexandre Alves

Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.


-Michel Donnet


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