Lebron James stretching guitar

[Quote] Lebron James on Mastering the Musical Long Game


“Play hard, have fun, and stretch.”

Lebron James


A childhood friend of basketball icon Lebron James gave him the advice to “Play hard, have fun, and stretch.” And he swears by it to this day.

The same advice fits well for us as musicians. It sounds at first obvious and common. In practice, though, it’s easy to forget one or more of these elements.

To play hard, we focus. We bring our best attention and energy. We don’t cut corners. We do the work.

To have fun, we keep it serious, but light-hearted. We look for the new and interesting. We relish the familiar and proven.

And we stretch.

We often think of practice as the time we spend on the instrument. Because of this, we can forget or devalue the time just before and after we play.

But for long-term agility and performance, we need to treat our bodies right. Not just once in a while, but as a regular part of our daily practice.

We can call it “ warm up” and “cool down”. We can call it pre- and post-game ritual. Whatever we call it, time spent on flexibility and injury-prevention is time well-spent.

For the long game of playing hard and having fun, we also need to stretch.


“Play hard, have fun, and stretch.”

Lebron James




allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


I am a 61 year old physician, reconnecting with the classical guitar after a hiatus of nearly 40 years. After a couple of weeks [in the program], I’m now producing a much clearer, yet somehow more mellow and beautiful sound. It was really good to feel it happening in my hand, and that it felt more comfortable and somehow “right”, compared to the way I had played before (“curved picking”). The fog started to lift and I found that I was remembering more, and it felt great (also a bit of a relief!), giving me confidence to keep going. Thank you for making your course available - your love of music and the guitar shines through the teaching. I am very happy I found and registered with CGS.


-Brian Davey

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


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