quote patch the pirate

Patch the Pirate on Taking it Day by Day

We’re all so wise and insightful when it comes to others. It’s easy to see when someone has bitten off more than they can chew. And how helpful we are to tell them, “Just take it one step at a time.”

But it’s not so easy to see when we’re the one with too much on our plate. We naturally think ourselves right, so it can be off-putting when a friend becomes annoyingly wise and recommends the same.

James Allen said, “Incremental learning is better than ambitious failure.” And he was right.

We see this in marathons and distances races. The ones who explode off the starting line are seldom the same ones who cross the finish line. They tucker out and quit.

As guitarists, one of our main challenges is to simply keep going — to show up day after day, year after year. To get back up after we fall. To keep the flame burning when it gets dangerously low.

And to do this, we need little successes. We need tiny wins that make us feel good and help us do what’s required. Wee victories at every step, like…..

  • Picking up the guitar,
  • Paying attention to how we move our hands,
  • Working on that tricky spot just one more minute,
  • and the thousand other things.

All we can do is practice well in this one minute. Then do it again. And again. And before we know it, we wake up and play Leyenda beautifully. For better or worse, that’s the only way it ever happens.


Little by little
Inch by inch
By the yard it’s hard
By the inch what a cinch
Never stare at the stairs
Just step up the steps
Little by little inch by inch

Patch the Pirate


Further Reading: The Amazing Power of 1% Improvements

allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.

Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.

-Michel Donnet

Hi, Allen! I am so excited to have gotten started on your program! I just upgraded to a yearly membership. Thank you very much! You do such great work!

-Linda Hansen

Become a Member and Play More, Beautifully!

“The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
Charles Poliquin  

Join the program that takes you from the beginning fundamentals to advanced mastery, so you…

  • Move your hands safely and fluidly

  • Enjoy fulfilling practices and meaningful work

  • Play beautifully with expression and flow

Click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice. >>>

Featured Courses

jesu bach classical guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

One of the best loved of all classical pieces.

See more...

read music guitar high positions notes

Play and Read Music in the Higher Positions

Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck.

See more...

how to play segovia scales

Better Technique, with “Segovia’s Favorite Scales”

Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool.

See more...

« » page 1 / 2

See more…