Wooden guitar practice
-

John Wooden on Developing Your Strengths

Basketball coach John Wooden believed in the power of fundamentals.

When he first started coaching at UCLA, he reportedly spent the first week on something so basic that most of the players had never given it a second thought.

He didn’t start with layups or free throws. He didn’t drill plays or talk strategy.

Instead, the players spent the first week practicing how to tie their shoes.

He believed this fundamental skill, when mastered, would lead to better performance and fewer injuries. And he was right – performance increased and injuries decreased.

We have similar fundamentals on the guitar. We can focus on how we move our hands, one finger at a time. We can master the art of connecting notes and shifting gracefully from one position to another on the guitar neck. But we go even more basic than these.

Even at the most beginning levels, we can put our energy into the areas that have the biggest potential payoff.

These areas of highest benefit are not scales or fancy techniques. They’re not to be found in the next book or Youtube video.

The most fundamental and important skills to learn guitar are…

Focus and Attention.

When we can focus and pay attention to the fine details, we can learn anything else we need. We can build on these two skills more than any others.

We don’t need to find a video on tremolo or three-finger scales. We don’t need to understand esoteric music theory or decipher lute tablature.

All that can come later. Or not. Either way, we do best when we build on the fundamentals.

With these fundamentals, we can make the most of what we already know. We can deepen our understanding of each lesson. We can grow steadily more agile and nimble without sacrificing safety or sound quality.

Focus and attention. These are about as sexy as tying our shoes, but also just as beneficial.


                “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

                                 John Wooden




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, I am thoroughly enjoying your website and I find it is just what I need in my renewed passion for classical guitar. I have rediscovered a great love for this instrument and the music I can learn and play and it has changed my life for the better dramatically! Thank you facilitating this process.


-George Rogers

I have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.


-Harlan Friedman


Become a Member and Play More, Beautifully!


“The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
Charles Poliquin  

Join the program that takes you from the beginning fundamentals to advanced mastery, so you…

  • 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. >>>



Featured Courses

$39
jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical pieces.

See more...

$39
read music guitar high positions notes

Play and Read Music in the Higher Positions

Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck.

See more...

$39
how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

« » page 1 / 2

See more…