Frank Herbert on New Musical Experiences
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”
One of the great things about a regular musical practice is that we get to explore new music. We get to find new ways of looking at familiar patterns. We travel across time and culture without ever leaving our chairs.
Routine is a tool. It’s a way to reduce the number of mundane decisions we have to make. This leaves our creativity and mental bandwidth open for more interesting considerations.
But routine can also be a trap. As with any tool, if we’re not careful it can have unintended effects. And the “shadow-side” of routine is what we sometimes call “the rut”.
When we allow ourselves to fall into a rut, we fail to have new experiences. We feel disempowered to make new decisions and brave new adventures. Our comfort zone becomes smaller. Journeying out no longer feels safe.
To keep our minds and spirits engaged, we need fresh problems to solve. We need to come up against our fears and limitations. Then we need to challenge them.
Daily guitar practice can check all the boxes, but only if we show up and engage. So long as we ask questions and seek answers we’ll continue to march forward. We’ll gain new revelations and discover new ideas.
With an engaged practice, we become more aware of our bodies and movements. We learn to hear differently. In time, we look at things in new ways. The world becomes richer and more highly textured.
And when everything is going well, we run the risk of relaxing our focus and falling back into the rut. So we then have to start again. When we sense our enthusiasm flagging, one of the best remedies is to lean in. We can look closer at the fine details of each moment.
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.
Allen: Just wanted you to know I have thoroughly enjoyed The Woodshed program. I'm in Level 1C and love how every part works together. It has improved my "general" playing already.
Thanks to you (you are my only teacher) in only a few months I've gone from very basic beginner pieces to having just completed learning Bach's Gavottes 1&2 in good form and execution. As a non-classical electric guitarist who has always used a pick and never his fingers, this has been no small feat!
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