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A Spanish Proverb on Taking Productive Breaks



“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.”

Spanish Proverb


When we study music, we study forever. There is no great arrival. The road does not end.

There may be short-term goals and deadlines, such as a performance or recording. We may graduate from a program or course. But then we’re on to the next.

It’s what James P. Carse calls an “infinite game”. We win simply by playing.

But sometimes we need to step away and refill the proverbial well.

This Mark Black quote agrees: “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”

Sure, if we take too many days off, we have to regain our momentum, and that can be hard.

But for long-term success, we do best to think long-term. And that means we allow ourselves a break now and then to “do nothing, then rest afterward.”


“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.”

Spanish Proverb









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.




Thanks to you (you are my only teacher) in only a few months I've gone from very basic beginner pieces to having just completed learning Bach's Gavottes 1&2 in good form and execution. As a non-classical electric guitarist who has always used a pick and never his fingers, this has been no small feat!


-Gregg Olson

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



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