quincy adams guitar practice
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John Quincy Adams and the Magic to Make Difficulties Disappear

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


“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams


The challenges we face learning guitar can feel impossibly large. Like standing at the foot of the Hoover Dam, we may feel small and unequipped for the task ahead.

And it’s true: we usually cannot conquer such obstacles. Not directly anyway. Not all in one go.

But we can take the next small step in front of us. We can take the next micro-action that moves us ever-so-slightly forward.

Our job as musicians is to make these small advances, day after day. These small steps bring us ever-nearer to what once seemed like unrealistic goals.

Of course we would prefer to have it all and have it now. This is human nature. But through patience and perseverance, we move first past one obstacle then another.

From the outside, the finger and musical acrobatics we manage can appear as magic. But this is to those who see only the results of our work, and not the process.

Behind the scenes, it’s the simple act of showing up on a regular basis. It’s directing our attention and time toward the incremental improvements. One detail then the next.

And as process is all there is, we can embrace the daily routines. We can care less about “finishing” a piece of music, and more about the process of practicing the piece.

In time, the piece emerges. In time, the “difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish”. And we wake to find ourselves a little further down the path.


“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams




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 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 stellar teachers –  one focused on the technical, 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 beautifullyClick here for a sample formula.


Hello Allen,
I feel my guitar proficiency is improving considerably. Every day I’m exceedingly comfortable with my right hand technique and overall fluency. And my sight-reading has improved as well. Thank you for creating the Woodshed. It’s thoughtful construction and scope and sequence of knowledge and skills has advanced my guitar skills significantly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


-Michael Immel

I think the program levels are a great way to teach the guitar. I have had several teachers over the past few years and none came close to the structured organization that you have put together.


-Peter Marior


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Charles Poliquin  

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  • Move your hands safely and fluidly

  • Enjoy fulfilling practices and meaningful work

  • Play beautifully with expression and flow

Click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice. >>>



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