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Robert Louis Stevenson on planting seeds for the future


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


 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

 Robert Louis Stevenson


 G. K. Chesterton (The Man Who Knew Too Much, creator of the “Father Brown” character) said of Stevenson that he “seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins.”

But he just seemed that way. In truth, you don’t write classics like Treasure Island or Jekyll & Hyde without filling volumes with words that never see the light of day. Some days, things work. Other days they don’t.

Even the best of the best keep working. That’s why they’re the best. They focus more on the current challenge than on the “harvest”. They focus on the process, and let the results take care of themselves. Games are won one point at a time.

As guitarists, we have to do the same. Massage this chord. Finesse this melody. Try to relax through this tricky spot. It all happens in the moment. It’s always one note connecting to the next.

All we can do is show up and plant seeds. Every moment of attention and intention is a seed we plant. No matter if we’ve been playing for 30 years or 30 seconds. Our harvests are born of patient awareness and focus.

Of course we want to play the big piece. We want to ace the beautiful melody. We want the harvest. But all we can do is this: Put all that aside and focus first on one note, then another. Note by note, seed by seed.








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.




Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders

Hi Allen, just wanted to provide some feedback. Since I've started doing the exercises [in The Woodshed program] my guitar is sounding a lot better, with fuller sound, less effort. Its as if I bought a new guitar or got a new pair of hands (or both). Amazing my friend. Thank you!


-Nusret Aydemir



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