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 work with teachers, 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 sore after playing.  I was frequently frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward.  Then I studied with two stellar teachers –  one focused on the technical, and one on the musical.  In time, I came to discover a fundamental set of formulas and movements. These unlocked my playing, and brought new life and enjoyment to my practice. Now I help other guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.


Hi allen, it amazes me how good and precise your teachings are. The best thing I ever did was to download a piece of music from you and to listen to your videos. The enjoyment I now have from playing is ten fold. Thanks!

Regards,


-Tony Christopher

Hi allen, it amazes me how good and precise your teachings are. The best thing I ever did was to download a piece of music from you and to listen to your videos. The enjoyment I now have from playing is ten fold. Thanks!

Regards,


-Tony Christopher


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