freddie laker guitar practice
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Sir Freddie Laker on Changing Your Musical Mind

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


“Remember that only a fool never changes his mind.”

Sir Freddie Laker


Playing music beautifully is all about making decisions.

We have to choose when to swell in volume and when to fade back down. We decide which notes pop out and which stay in the background. We decide fingerings, speeds, tone quality, and a hundred other small details.

And once we’ve made these decisions, we have to choose them again every time we play the piece. We have to demonstrate our decisions with conviction and confidence.

But what if we’re not sure we’re making the right decisions? What if we don’t know how to choose? What if we’re guessing?

Answer: We decide anyway.

With musical maturity we’ll naturally make different and better decisions. As time goes on we’ll discover rules and tricks and devices to make decisions easier.

Even then, we will want to make changes. And that’s fine.

We can change our minds as many times as we need to. And we will, as we live with our pieces. We’ll come to understand the music in new ways. And with each new insight, we will want to adjust our decisions.

As our technique develops, we’ll discover new possibilities for expression. We grow, and so does our music.

The important part is that we make decisions. Right from the start, from our very first pieces, we can choose to play some notes loud and other notes quiet. It doesn’t have to be “right”, but it does need to happen. Otherwise our playing is bland.

Pianist Mark Westcott liked to say when faced with a contradiction of an earlier statement, “Well, those of us with minds are apt to change them.” and, “Of course: I’ve evolved.”


“Remember that only a fool never changes his mind.”

Sir Freddie Laker




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.


I am a 61 year old physician, reconnecting with the classical guitar after a hiatus of nearly 40 years. After a couple of weeks [in the program], I’m now producing a much clearer, yet somehow more mellow and beautiful sound. It was really good to feel it happening in my hand, and that it felt more comfortable and somehow “right”, compared to the way I had played before (“curved picking”). The fog started to lift and I found that I was remembering more, and it felt great (also a bit of a relief!), giving me confidence to keep going. Thank you for making your course available - your love of music and the guitar shines through the teaching. I am very happy I found and registered with CGS.


-Brian Davey

Hi Allen,
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.

The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.


-Rodger Paylor


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