rachmaninoff guitar practice

Rachmaninoff on a Lifetime of Music

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


Music is enough for a lifetime – but a lifetime is not enough for music.

Sergei Rachmaninoff


When we hear phrases like “Music is enough for a lifetime” it’s tempting to dismiss it as an airy platitude. It may sound fluffy and insubstantial – a lovely sentiment, though not very practical.

But learning and practicing an instrument makes for meaningful work. It’s rewarding and fulfilling. It allows us to rise above the daily mundane and strive for something purely for its own sake.

By working on our music, we work on ourselves.

Rachmaninoff was one of the great pianist-composers of the twentieth century. And he was known for his willingness to do the hard work. He braved slow practice and instilled quality and honesty at every step.

This wasn’t always “fun” – in fact he sometimes thought of it as drudgery. But still, while the work on any one day may have been difficult, it sweetened life. It offered a deeper satisfaction that made it worth it.

One of the great benefits of music is that we can never know it all. Given endless lifetimes, we would still not exhaust its frontiers. There is always more to learn, more to know, more discovery, more insight.

This takes the pressure off. With no final peak to conquer, we’re free to simply enjoy the ride.

It doesn’t matter how far we get. It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) time we spend each day. Whatever we do adds to our quality of life.

Each practice offers the opportunity to focus and work. Each note offers up the chance to put our intentions to the test, to do our best. Each movement is a moment to cultivate quality and step toward mastery.

We don’t always control our situations. We don’t get to choose all the cards we hold. But the incremental growth of a regular practice can smooth the bumps and lighten the load.


Music is enough for a lifetime – but a lifetime is not enough for music.

Sergei Rachmaninoff




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.


Hi Allen,
First public performance ever! I am up to Level 1E in The Woodshed program. It is certainly mega helpful.


-Peter Graham

Hi allen, it amazes me how good and precise your teachings are. The best thing I ever did was to download a piece of music from you and to listen to your videos. The enjoyment I now have from playing is ten fold. Thanks!

Regards,


-Tony Christopher


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