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 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.
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.
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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