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.”
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.
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.
I also want to thank you for including more video lessons on the Bridges Guitar Series. I have learned to play Calatayud's Waltz. The most exciting thing about having done this is that I sight read the entire piece as I was learning it. Six months ago looking at a sheet of music was like looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics. Learning to read notation is empowering and I appreciate the sensible way you are teaching us to learn to read music.
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