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Nietzsche’s six steps to guitar mastery


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


“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”

Friedrich Nietzsche


One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from teachers is this:

The end result is only as good as the quality of each step in the process.

We don’t play “music”. We play one note or chord. Then we play another note or chord. And again and again until we look up and a full piece has gone by.

A well-played piece is actually a series of well-played moments. It can’t be any other way.

And in our guitar practice, we develop. We learn. We train. We ingrain.

We only play as well as we can play. And to reach new heights we must climb. There’s no skipping ahead. Any part skipped is a hole that will trip us later.

We first stand, then walk. Then to the next step, then to the next. Each in its turn, one after another. With both an eye to the peak, and focus on the current step.

Of course we want to “fly”. That’s why we show up each day. But to get there, we have to first be here, and give full attention to the task at hand.








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.




Hello Allen,
I feel my guitar proficiency is improving considerably. Every day I’m exceedingly comfortable with my right hand technique and overall fluency. And my sight-reading has improved as well. Thank you for creating the Woodshed. It’s thoughtful construction and scope and sequence of knowledge and skills has advanced my guitar skills significantly. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


-Michael Immel

As I said before, I think your site is outstanding. I have spent my life teaching adults difficult stuff that they really wanted to learn but didn't have the time to learn at the speed we teach university students. Thus I understand only too well how many hundreds of hours you must have spent perfecting your lessons to make my learning as quick and easy as possible.


-Mike Barron



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