Matsuo Basho Guitar practice
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Matsuo Basho on how to improve at guitar

 

Do we need to be inventors or statesmen to find inspiration in Ben Franklin? Do we need to draw and paint for Leonardo Da Vinci to touch our lives?

Masters and mavericks serve us best by example.

They show us that it’s alright to be curious. It’s alright to experiment and fail (a million times over). It’s alright to be human, and it alright to rise above expectations. It’s alright to go for it.

Matsuo Basho was the most famous Edo-period poet in Japan. And he would tell his disciples to absorb but then disregard everything they learned. He even dismissed his own work. It was the seeking that was more important than the learning.

And it doesn’t have to be so serious. Even Basho allowed himself to be lighthearted, with lines such as, “now then, let’s go out / to enjoy the snow … until / I slip and fall!”

We can look to others for guidance and we can benefit from their experience. But the main ingredient to create what they’ve created is to constantly seek clarity and perspective.

With all the information available to us these days, advice is cheap. Real progress happens when we put our hands and attention on our guitars.

We can seek to hear more accurately and honestly. We can strive to stay more present and aware of each movement of a finger. We can gently steer our focus back to the task at hand when in strays.

So the “what” is less important than the “how”. And the “how” is less important than the “why”. If our purpose in playing guitar is to master our bodies and minds, the guitar can’t help but follow.


“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of others, instead, seek what they sought.”

Matsuo Basho




allen mathews classical guitar

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 beautifullyClick here for a sample formula.


Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders

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.


-Brian Davey


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