David Whyte guitar practice harvest

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David Whyte – Beauty is the Harvest of Presence

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


“Beauty is the harvest of presence.”

David Whyte


Why do we learn guitar? Why do we toil with small details and coordination? What are we doing?

When we set ourselves to a demanding task, it takes all our attention. If the challenge is well-chosen, it’s hard, but not too hard.

The perfect challenge takes all our focus. It is achievable, but not easy. It takes our whole self.

Meeting these carefully-crafted demands, we are in the moment. We hear each vibration. We feel our fingers on the strings. We see the perfect movements, in our minds and, if all goes well, with our eyes.

This is presence – full engagement with the moment. And this is where we find beauty.

To appreciate music we must actually hear it. We must actively listen. Suspending judgement, disconnecting narrative. Just listening.

We can do this while we play. We can embrace each moment and let all other thoughts wait. We can release our opinions. We can pause our stories. We can set aside all other ideas and beliefs.

All that exists in a moment is found within that moment. There is no past or future.

Playing, we have only the current movement, the current sound. We focus on the current challenge and meet each second as it comes.

And in this, we find beauty. Not the culturally accepted version of beauty, veneered and polished. But a real beauty, born of awareness and appreciation. The content matters less than the quality of engagement.

In this way, we enjoy just as much beauty practicing at a beginning level as one more advanced.

At any level, beauty happens in the present moment – meeting challenge, hearing, feeling, seeing in earnest.


“Beauty is the harvest of presence.”

David Whyte


 



allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


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

Hi, Allen! I am so excited to have gotten started on your program! I just upgraded to a yearly membership. Thank you very much! You do such great work!


-Linda Hansen


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