confucius guitar practice
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Confucius on Real Knowledge and Musical Progress


Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance”

Confucius (551- 479BC)


Imagine our sum knowledge as a circle. Everything inside the circle is what we know.

The edge of the circle is what we don’t know – our ignorance.

The more we learn, and the more we experience, the larger our circle grows.

But at the same time, our sensed ignorance (the outer edge of the circle) grows as well.

In music, there is no end. We could study for lifetimes and still not reach the end.

The more we learn, the more there is to learn. The more we practice, the more aware we become of what’s possible.

This creates a scenario that’s surprises many beginning and intermediate players. And here it is: practicing at an advanced level feels just like practicing at the earlier levels.

We constantly push our boundaries, and as such, spend much of our time at the edge of our circles. And it feels the same regardless of how much we know.

The ignorance we feel as beginners remains.

The problems change. The speed increases. The music becomes more complex. But the feeling of “missing something” remains. We continue to question and doubt.

In time, we become more comfortable with the unknown. We accept the duality of knowledge and ignorance. We come to terms with the incremental improvements gained practicing guitar.

We take one daily step at a time. And with each conquered summit we see peaks far larger and further beyond.

 


Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance”

Confucius (551- 479BC)




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 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 beautifullyClick here for a sample formula.


Hi Allen,
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.

The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.


-Rodger Paylor

Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders


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