Robert Holden on Strong Musical Relationships

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

“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”

Robert Holden

To play guitar is to be in a relationship. Actually, many relationships.

First, we have a long-term relationship with music and guitar. And this has all the ups and downs we can expect from long-term relationships. Over time, we feel the warming and cooling and warming again. The exhilaration and the drudgery. We feel rewarded, disappointed, elated, grateful, frustrated. All of it.

And we also have an ongoing series of short-term relationships.

These are the studies, the pieces, the exercises. The seasons of focus.

But while the content of our practices may change, we remain. Our habits and personalities create the canvas on which we paint.

How do we balance the patience of wisdom with the immediate drive to attain our goals? And how do we feel and speak to ourselves when things get hard?

To progress on guitar, we have to sit with paradox. We have to actively move forward and engage in new learning. But we also need to drill the fundamentals.

It’s like we sail on a small ship of the known through an ocean of the unknown. And how we contend with our current lack of knowledge and ability – this affects everything we do.

Self-dialog, mood, feelings, attitude. These are part of being human.

The question is, “how aware are we of them?” Especially when the air is thin and the path obscure.

Can we stay motivated to improve, but accept that some things just take time? Can we build more patience and attention? More awareness – of body and thought?

To play guitar, we play ourselves. We play our hands, our bodies, our imaginations. We push boundaries and summon courage. We win and lose, succeed and fail, embrace and fight.

Then we do it again tomorrow – the quiet thrill of self-discovery and growth beckoning us forward.

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 stellar teachers – one focused on the technical, 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

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.

-Ken Montz

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…1

  • 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

Bach, J.S. – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

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