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

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.


Life is good, still enjoying [The Woodshed Program], the progress is life altering, I love it. The physical challenges of my situation have rained havoc for over half my life. In spite of those little pests this 40$ Yamaha classical who needed a new home and your course has given me the "part the clouds for the sun to shine through" outlook. You see, even when I am unable to play I know she patiently waits for my return as I do. A giant void in my journey was filled with light.


-Ken Montz

I came on board three months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. I have maintained my practice pattern. I’m sticking wholeheartedly with the program as written. That makes it easy to see what I NEED to work on rather than just playing the shiny places I’ve gone beyond…..I’ve learned to focus 100% on what I’m doing that very minute….I’m developing strength in my left hand...I spend time with the videos in the evenings and always find something more to help me. I’m not looking for info anywhere else. Everything I need is right here in The Woodshed. You say “Jump” and I say “How high.” I’m so grateful I found you. You speak in a language I understand.


-Gloria Mader


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