James Allen on the Role of Thoughts, Dreams, and Reality

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

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

James Allen

When we begin guitar, we hold a vision of ourselves in the future. We may not know all the details, but we sense the direction.

We create markers by which we measure success. These may or may not hold over time. But they are the best we can do with our current state of understanding and awareness. As we learn more, we sense more possibilities, and find new measurements.

And so our dreams and desires evolve over time. They pull us forward, and recalibrate as needed.

They are the precious fuel that keeps us going through difficult times. They are the lifeforce that drives our survival.

James Allen also said,

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

The most rewarding music practice is one that holds the delicate balance between dream and reality.

We remain inspired and engaged. We continue to feel the pull forward. And we also stay rooted in the daily work. We are driven by dreams, and still remain grounded in the task at hand.

For each moment of practice, we stay in the moment – aware, curious, probing. And because of this positive agenda, we know we are moving also toward our larger desires.

When we accept and allow for slow progress, we can relax and focus. And this daily focus brings yet more progress.

If ever we lose the drive and spark, we can stop and reflect on our current balance between dream and reality. Make adjustments, and move ever on.

Allen Mathews

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.

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

-Rodger Paylor

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!


~ Gregg Olson

-Gregg Olson

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