Ryan Flaherty on Better Training Through Simplicity
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“Don’t buy complexity; the simpler you make your training, the better the results become.”
“Bright shiny object syndrome” can distract us from doing what will help us improve at guitar.
When we skim the surface, we may become bored. When we get the basic gist (i.e. the notes) we falsely believe there’s nothing more to see. So we hop to the next piece of music or exercise. Over time we choose more and more complex pieces and exercises.
The outcome is that we find ourselves playing complex pieces in a mediocre way. We know that something is missing, but don’t know what it is. So we charge ahead with the next piece. We’re sure that things will work themselves out and one day we’ll play beautifully.
But if we recognize and drill the fundamentals, we get better results.
The top 1% of 1% of 1% go deep with a few simple exercises. It’s the amateurs busying themselves with endless new distractions.
This is why Bruce Lee famously said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
And this is why legendary strength coach Charles Paloquin said “The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
Depth beats breadth.
When we ask less “what” and more “how”, we build skills faster and enjoy practice more. We see more improvement and meet the challenges that pull us ever forward.
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.
~ John Andersson
Hi Allen, I am thoroughly enjoying your website and I find it is just what I need in my renewed passion for classical guitar. I have rediscovered a great love for this instrument and the music I can learn and play and it has changed my life for the better dramatically! Thank you for facilitating this process.~
~ George Rogers
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