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Michelangelo on being nit-picky with practicing


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


“Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle”.

Michelangelo


As we learn guitar (classical guitar especially), we manage many different areas. Technique, tunes, practice methods, personal discipline, and on and on.

When the list feels long, it’s easy to gloss over the fine details. Before we know it, we can fall into the trap of “ticking the boxes”, instead of savoring each item.

Beautiful music is made of tiny details: The connection of one note to another. Thoughtful decisions about a phrasing or fingering. Every little movement in a stroke of the hand. A seemingly obsessive preoccupation with trifles.

In our practice, we can give ourselves permission to nit-pick the trifles. It’s okay. Good even. It’s these little explorations that make the music so much more meaningful. And it’s these moments of curiosity and experimentation that make daily practice such a joy.

PS: If you like, next time you’re about to jump to the next thing in your practice, pause and consider whether you could go a little deeper before moving on. Could you focus more deeply on some small trifle? How close in can you zoom?








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 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.




Great Work!!!  I thank you sincerely for all the effort you have put in and the terrific work you do for the classical guitar community.


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I have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.


-Harlan Friedman



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