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Thich Nhat Hanh on a Useful Guitar Practice Tool – Smiling


 

You and I may hear all the time about how important it is to smile.

But is this just positive thinking? Is it new-agey Pollyanna mumbo-jumbo?

Not necessarily. There are also pragmatic reasons to smile – health, mood, appearance.

One reason that matters in guitar practice is muscle tone. When we smile, we relax.

When we concentrate, we often create excess tension in our faces. This tension spreads throughout our bodies, and into our hands. The result is that everything we do is harder than it has to be.

When we smile, even a little, we release some of that tension. We allow practice to be less serious, and more easeful.

When we struggle through tricky spots, the struggle adds to the trickiness. When we take a deep breath and smile through the tricky spots, we add ease to them. We dispel fear and train ourselves to relax.

A smile can be a strategic tool. It can become a practice method to solve problems, develop useful muscle-memory, and reduce the chance of pain or injury. All these are a part of playing beautifully.

And it feels good!


“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”

Thich Nhat Hanh









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.




Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!


-Arnoud Reinders

I have to say after over 12 months of one-on-one training with a teacher before joining The Woodshed, this is the first time that I feel I’m making technical progress.


-Nusret Aydemir



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