Nile Rodgers on Good Times, Good Living, and Good Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“Don’t be a drag – Participate! Clams on the half shell, and rollerskates!”
Nile Rodgers (Chic)
Good times! Is this not one of the main reasons we play guitar? Ultimately, we’re looking for a good time.
But what does this mean? Are we supposed to smile the whole time? Laugh out loud and slap a knee? Not necessarily.
For good times, in any area of life, we engage. We participate. We give it our full attention and energy. Even in “passive” good times, like reading or watching a movie, we immerse and focus.
On guitar, this means if we clap and count a rhythm, we do it aloud, using our voice. No pulling punches.
The important part is that we bring our full self to the task at hand. We do our best. We’re serious about our play, like children.
This doesn’t mean that every practice goes well. It doesn’t mean we won’t sometimes miss the mark or feel frustrated. But it does mean that we take full responsibility for our attention and energy.
Classical guitar is no easy feat. The key is to enjoy the process of learning. Like a yard dog with a hambone, we can relish knawing away at our scales and pieces.
And this becomes its own reward. Practice becomes our favorite part of the day. Good times!
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.
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
Life is good, still enjoying [The Woodshed Program], the progress is life altering, I love it. The physical challenges of my situation have rained havoc for over half my life. In spite of those little pests this 40$ Yamaha classical who needed a new home and your course has given me the "part the clouds for the sun to shine through" outlook. You see, even when I am unable to play I know she patiently waits for my return as I do. A giant void in my journey was filled with light.
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