frank gelett burgess guitar practice

[QUOTE] Frank Burgess: Your Body is Your Autobiography

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


“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.”

Frank Gelett Burgess


Learning and playing guitar, we need to keep track of myriad details. To play any tune we must remember which finger goes where. We have the rhythm and the fingerings, the swells and the fades.

With so much to think about, it’s no wonder we fail to notice when we slump or lean. We forget about our bodies until they hurt, demanding attention.

Over time, the small compromises carve themselves into permanence, like water etching stone.

We lean on the desk and become crooked. We stoop and become hunched. We ignore our guitar technique and suffer repetitive stress injuries.

It happens so often we fail to notice. We assume it’s all part of living.

But the outcome, both now and down the road, is up to us.

When we care enough to sit up straight we breathe better now and find more comfort and flexibility later. When we treat our bodies well they treat us well in return.

The years will pass either way (or so we hope). We can take the time and care to protect our bodies and build sustainable habits of movement. Or not.

And the good news: we can always find greater comfort and utility now. We all, regardless of age or habit, can make small improvements today, tomorrow and beyond.


“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.”

Frank Gelett Burgess




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.


Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.


-Michel Donnet

I practised your system for three days, and it solved the I-M alternation problem I had been struggling with since I undertook classical guitar three years ago.  Many thanks!


-Johnny Geudel


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