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Confucius on Real Knowledge and Musical Progress


Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!


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.








Allen Mathews

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 other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, 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.




I also want to thank you for including more video lessons on the Bridges Guitar Series. I have learned to play Calatayud's Waltz. The most exciting thing about having done this is that I sight read the entire piece as I was learning it. Six months ago looking at a sheet of music was like looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics. Learning to read notation is empowering and I appreciate the sensible way you are teaching us to learn to read music.


-Steve Simpler

After more than a year as a member, I remain impressed with the Woodshed, song courses, Tuesday quotes, weekly lessons, and the CGS community. Without my membership, I think my enthusiasm for learning classical guitar would have faded long ago. Instead, I am enjoying the process as I make steady progress in my playing.


-Steve Dosh



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