Oscar Wilde on Moderation and Excess in Guitar Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
We strive to be prudent and rational. We aim for temperance and restraint.
And most of the time, this is well and good.
But on occasion, we need to balance all this moderation with some healthy excess.
The ideal guitar practice touches on several areas of study. It may contain technique, new pieces of music, older pieces of music and more.
But what about those days when our minds aren’t in it? On those days, it can be therapeutic to dig into scales or exercises for the entire practice. We can get out of our heads and into the physical challenges of moving our hands. We can take the mental load off and put the physical load on.
On a different day, we may not feel like doing scales or exercises. We may become enamored with a new piece of music, and want to spend every minute working on it.
And that’s perfectly fine. Wonderful, even.
Someone once said of dietary choices, “It’s not what we do one day a week that matters – it’s what we do six days a week that counts.”
And the same holds true in guitar practice.
We can aim for a well-balanced practice routine. And if we hold to it most days, we can safely go “off the rails” once in a while.
Problems only arise when we ignore important areas in our practice. As long as we’re getting our “minimum daily allowance” of everything, we can skip a day here or there and not see any ill-effects (just like overeating on holidays).
Even more dangerous than occasional excess is constant rigidity. We’re in service to our musical growth, yes. But we’re also in service to our whims and passions. (At least in moderation!)
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.
This is the ideal starting position for me. As a relative beginner with no teacher this is helping me enormously in developing good technique and not falling into bad habits. I no longer feel (A) That it's a struggle to learn a new piece and (B) That I am alone in my endeavors. My advice is to try The Woodshed program. It is fantastic and will not only bring up your playing but his explanations of musical concepts as you go along put things into perspective.
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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