Terence McKenna on the Perfect Online Guitar Lesson
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer.”
It’s fun to not know things. It’s entertaining to research and explore on the internet. We can sample a thousand ideas, and ping-pong from one to the next.
Someone once said that, “Satisfaction is the death of desire.”
We want the satisfaction, but we also enjoy the desire. And therein lies the rub.
When the satisfaction requires effort, we may avoid the work and feed the desire. This is the trap.
When we read a new article, watch more Youtube videos, or shop for a new book, we feel like we’re accomplishing something. It feels like progress, even though we end up at the same place we started.
To “face the answer”, as Terence McKenna said, we have to pick up our guitars and do something.
If we want to play better from musical notation, we have to look at notes on the page and play them on the guitar. There’s no substitute for practice.
If we want better flexibility, we don’t need to scour the web for the perfect stretch. Instead, we can do whatever stretch comes to mind. It’s the doing that’s important. We can always refine later.
Of course some methods and techniques ARE better than others. But if we’re not in the habit of acting on what we discover, we probably won’t use the better method either. Instead, we’ll convince ourselves that we need to do a little more research.
We already know enough to dive in. And even if we’re not “doing it right”, we still benefit from time spent with fingers on strings.
Even if we have to go back and re-train our movements later, we still get the enjoyment of practicing guitar now.
It’s fun to surf and browse and read and watch. But it’s deeply satisfying to see improvement in something we work at for the love of it.
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.
I have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.
Allen Mathews was recommended to me as somebody who could help me expand my guitar vocabulary. Allen started me on a really fun cycle of lessons and practice. He is a very good,and very enthusiastic teacher, and I feel that I'm on the road to learning. I couldn't be more pleased with my experience.
-Peter Buck (r.e.m.)
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