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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.




Allen, your website and teaching methods are excellent. You have an easy going yet encouraging way of inspiring people to learn and practice their art. And you are always accessible to your students to personally answer questions. I appreciate ... that personal touch. The course on reading rhythm and playing higher up the neck I found particularly helpful. God bless you and many thanks.


-Joe Bazan

These warm-up and stretching exercises are helping me a lot! Because I’m a software developer I have to stay 8 hours typing on a computer keyboard, so I use my hands a lot during the day. At night, when I have some time to practice the guitar my hands and arms are usually in pain because they have been working a lot during the day, but I’ve found that doing the warm-up/stretching exercises in The Woodshed releases me from this pain and I’m then able to practice after doing them.  

You are building a very interesting and working guitar course, because for what I’ve seen so far it really works!


-Ulysses Alexandre Alves



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