Teresa Amabile on meaningful work
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions…, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”Teresa Amabile
Master cellist Pablo Casals was no stranger to meaningful work:
Yet even having attained such unquestionable mastery of his instrument, throughout his entire life Casals maintained a disciplined regimen of practicing for five or six hours every day. On the day he died, at the age of 96, he had already put in several hours practicing his scales. A few years earlier, when he was 93, a friend asked him why, after all he had achieved, he was still practicing as hard as ever. “Because,” Casals replied, “I think I’m making progress.”
Most of us have a start-stop relationship with guitar. We get excited for a while, then somehow we become busy with other things and stop practicing.
When we haven’t played in awhile, it can be difficult to sit down and practice. Even if we know guitar is something wonderful in our lives, we still feel resistance.
When we have a few days of practice behind us, we start to see progress. We feel our good work is making a difference. And this makes it easy to show up tomorrow and practice more.
It’s easier to sit down and practice for the fourth or fifth day in row than it is from a cold start.
Once we’re in motion and seeing results, we’re drawn to the guitar.
When we see progress, we can more readily accept the hard parts. We can delay the immediate rewards of playing something we already know, and spend our precious practice time on more challenging tasks.
When we feel successful, we’re apt to create more success for ourselves. We’re more likely to invest time and energy into doing more of what made us feel good.
We could test the theory that to see more progress (and therefore boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions), all we have to do is show up and work.
After a few days of practicing right-hand patterns and chords, learning music and running scales, we’ll feel more enthusiasm, enjoyment, and fulfillment.
All it takes is time and attention.
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.
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.
The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.
~ Rodger Paylor
Since a year ago with my subscription to CGS it has been for me a pleasurable adventure and a discovery of all the facets of the classical guitar.
Your dedication and enthusiasm, as well as your talent, in the tuition is quite contagious (well, lets hope also for your talent) and has made it fun and useful in my progression. Also the weekly tip that you mail us and the Facebook group is excellent.
~ Michel Donnet
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