chesterton guitar practice
-

G.K.Chesterton on Staying Fresh in our Music


“The things we see every day are the things we never see at all.”

G.K. Chesterton


“Scales are boring…” “I already know that…” “I think I’m playing it pretty well…”

Classical guitar music is finicky. We’re asked to move our fingers with ridiculous levels of precision and consistency. And a core set of movements makes up almost everything we do. Repetition is part of the game.

But with repetition can also come blindness. Like the scenes we pass every day on the way home, we often come to ignore some of the most crucial elements of our music.

Part of quality practice is looking and listening as if for the first time (even if it’s the hundredth).

When we suspend our notion of “got it”, we find constant room for improvement. When we assume nothing, slow down and pay close attention, the way forward presents itself.

Playing music, we build myriad skills. Some are finger-skills. Some are problem-solving skills. We learn time- and project-management skills. And we also need focus and attention skills.

It takes practice and intention to notice the commonplace day after day. It’s work to stay attuned to the fine details in something we do over and over.

The key to “seeing” is to look for something specific. When we explore the up-close details, the common becomes novel. Our curiosity engages. We become aware of the “flowers at our feet”.

For scales, it’s rhythm, legato, volume and tone control. With a piece of music it’s the same. For every note and phrase, we can set an intention for each of these. Then we compare what we see and hear to that intention.

Forward progress means matching what comes out of the instrument to what we hear in our heads. The “big picture” is made up of many smaller pictures. And the small pictures are where we hold the power.


“The things we see every day are the things we never see at all.”

G.K. Chesterton




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.


Hi Allen,
First public performance ever! I am up to Level 1E in The Woodshed program. It is certainly mega helpful.


-Peter Graham

I just want to thank you for your lessons. You are helping us to understand how a piece is composed, the parts to analyze and how to do it. You are teaching a lot about how to read and play, and the most important part: PLAY with the music and ENJOY it.


-R. Martinez


Become a Member and Play More, Beautifully!


“The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
Charles Poliquin  

Join the program that takes you from the beginning fundamentals to advanced mastery, so you…

  • Move your hands safely and fluidly

  • Enjoy fulfilling practices and meaningful work

  • Play beautifully with expression and flow

Click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice. >>>



Featured Courses

$39
jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical pieces.

See more...

$39
read music guitar high positions notes

Play and Read Music in the Higher Positions

Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck.

See more...

$39
how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

« » page 1 / 2

See more…