proverb guitar practice
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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 classical guitar

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 work with teachers, 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 sore after playing.  I was frequently frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward.  Then I studied with two stellar teachers –  one focused on the technical, and one on the musical.  In time, I came to discover a fundamental set of formulas and movements. These unlocked my playing, and brought new life and enjoyment to my practice. Now I help other guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.


I appreciate the organized, well thought out progression of each level, as well as a measurable means to determine when to proceed to the next level.  I had burned myself out by pushing too hard and playing beyond where I was comfortable.  This course is just what I needed, and I am happy to be back on the road to playing again.


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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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