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Krispy Kreme on balanced practice


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


Doughnuts are a normal part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Brooke Smith, Krispy Kreme spokeswoman.


Vegetables, proteins, doughnuts. Now there’s a food pyramid to get behind!

As ridiculous as this quote sounds, there’s actually some deep truth within it. Or at least when we use it as a metaphor for guitar….

In our musical lives we have 2 main elements: practice and play.

  • Play is for fun.
  • Practice is to get better.

Too much play, and we find ourselves in a rut, doing the same things over and over.

Too much practice, and we risk feeling overworked and underpaid.

Practice should focus on solving specific, timely problems:

  • master this right-hand pattern,
  • connect these notes smoothly,
  • switch between these chords in rhythm,
  • etc.

Practice is work. It demands focus and concentration. It takes all our attention, discipline and willpower.

And that’s great. Life is more meaningful with a challenging pursuit. Days are more satisfying when we get in a good, deep practice.

But sometimes we just need a doughnut.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And sometimes, the best course of action is to let go of all practice concerns and just take the guitar out for a spin.

  • Play some old tunes at top speeds, never mind the mistakes.
  • Strum and sing a song.
  • Sight-read music you have no intention of learning.
  • Lean back on the couch with legs crossed and noodle around.
  • Do all the things we work so hard not to do in practice.

Just as doughnuts are a normal part of a healthy, balanced diet, goofing off and tinkering around are healthy parts of a balanced guitar practice. Maybe not every day, but when we feel the craving, there’s no harm in caving.








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 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 beautifully. Click here for a sample formula.




Great advise here. I find I am taking more time with the pieces than I would have in the past as I am focusing on the technique you have taught me. It is slower going at first but has fewer frustrations, is easier and sounds better in the end.


-Karen Richardson

Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders



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