Henry van Dyke guitar practice
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Henry van Dyke on Performance, Perfectionism, and the Art of Sharing

 

How good do we need to be before sharing our music with someone?

Do we need to get to a particular level or speed before letting someone hear us play?

One of the mistakes we often make is thinking that playing music is about us. It’s not. When we play music for someone, the act itself is the point.

Kids are comfortable with this. They can draw a picture and present it as a gift without any notion of “not-enoughness”. They don’t feel the need for their art to be museum-quality. It comes out, and they pass it along. Clean and easy.

But as adults we think we’re already supposed to sound perfect. We compare our daily practice to a professional’s edited studio recording and find ourselves wanting.

This is akin to not leaving the house because we don’t look like the airbrushed models in the magazine ad.

Sharing music can be scary, sure. We put ourselves in a vulnerable position. We remove our armor and expose our soft underbellies.

But if we select our audience carefully, and show up with enthusiasm and generosity, it usually goes well.

Not only do we build confidence and enjoy a personal victory over our ego, but we also inspire others to do the same. And that’s a gift as well!

Music is communication, and it truly is the thought that counts.


      Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

                               Henry van Dyke


 



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.


Hi Allen, just wanted to provide some feedback. Since I've started doing the exercises [in The Woodshed program] my guitar is sounding a lot better, with fuller sound, less effort. Its as if I bought a new guitar or got a new pair of hands (or both). Amazing my friend. Thank you!


-Nusret Aydemir

Hi Allen,
First public performance ever! I am up to Level 1E in The Woodshed program. It is certainly mega helpful.


-Peter Graham


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