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Madeleine L’Engle on nurturing your guitar practice


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


“Love isn’t how you feel, it’s what you do.”

Madeleine L’Engle


Though I’m not blessed with children of my own, I worked with them for years. Some moments they’re pure joy. Other times… not so much. Guitar practice is similar in this respect.

When a relationship is fun and exciting, it’s easy. Those moments are golden. Effortless.

But eventually we feel friction. It may even feel futile. We don’t feel like showing up. It just seems hard or irritating. This may last for a few seconds, or it could last longer.

It’s these moments that require love. Love for ourselves and our larger commitments and desires. Love for music.

Our daily guitar practice is like a child. It’s a relationship. It’s something we nurture with our attention and time. That’s why it’s meaningful.

Love is a verb, not a noun. Love is what we do, even if we don’t feel like it, or it’s not convenient.








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! I am so excited to have gotten started on your program! I just upgraded to a yearly membership. Thank you very much! You do such great work!


-Linda Hansen

Those videos on practicing the piece were just awesome, Allen! I've always thought that learning songs might be something completely different than practicing exercises, but the way you teach it makes it much easier than I thought. I'm positive that joining the Woodshed has been the best investment I've ever done for learning the classical guitar. Thank you so much for these lessons.


-Ulysses Alexandre Alves



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