Image

Mark Twain’s Secret of Guitar Progress


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


“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Mark Twain


It takes a certain amount of “oomph” to go from zero to one. To go from standing still to moving forward.

Picking up the guitar and playing the first note can be the hardest part of practice.

But once we’ve begun, we start to gain momentum. And before long, instead of pushing ahead, we feel drawn forward.

However, there may be a trap…

Even though we know that “The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, and the second best time is now”, we may still hesitate.

It can be just like first getting into a cold pool or approaching someone we’d like to meet. We may feel reluctant or downright averse.

But once begun, we gain momentum and remember what drew us there in the first place.

Robert De Niro gave it straight: “Time goes on. So whatever you’re going to do, do it. Do it now. Don’t wait.”

Learning classical guitar is a daily exercise in getting started. Anything we can do to make those first notes easier (routine, practice space, organization) helps us to move ahead.

This way, day in and day out, we inch forward and enjoy progress in meaningful work.








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.




Thanks for your on-going support. I never expected such a personalized approach when I signed up.


-Harlan Friedman

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



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…1

  • 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

Bach, J.S. – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

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