Archimedes learn guitar
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Archimedes on How to Learn Guitar

 

“Today, instead of practicing my guitar, I think I would learn more by watching Youtube videos…..”

“Today, instead of practicing my guitar, maybe I’ll research new books on Amazon…”

“Today, instead of practicing my guitar, I’ll surf the web and read some articles on practicing…”

After all, learning is learning, right?

In the moment, we can easily convince ourselves to do just about anything besides practicing guitar.

Before we pick up the guitar and start focusing on something specific, we may feel like a child sitting repulsed in front of a lump of cream corn.

In these moments, guitar feels more like a pungent medicine than a meaningful and joyous pursuit. So it makes sense that we find creative ways to not practice.

But this is only an initial resistance. Most often, after a few minutes we warm up to the experience and start enjoying the practice.

Which is good, because the only way to get better at guitar is to spend the time practicing it.

We don’t learn guitar by osmosis. To improve, we must focus our attention on specific challenges.

Luckily, these challenges come in many forms. We can usually find something to catch and hold our interest if we look for it.

The way forward in our guitar-playing is always: time engaged.

Time engaged with near anything that’s at the edge of our current abilities.

Time spent focused on getting some small movement cleaner or faster.

Time spent curiously experimenting with louds and softs and brights and darks.

Time spent with hands on the guitar.

These days, we have the luxury of more potential distraction than at any other time in history. There will always be something we don’t understand, and the means to avoid practice by searching for the answer.

We say we’re practicing guitar, but in fact, the real practice is focus.


“The only way to learn it is to do it.”

Archimedes, “Sword in the Stone”




allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at ClassicalGuitarShed.com.


Hi Allen,
First public performance ever! I am up to Level 1E in The Woodshed program. It is certainly mega helpful.


-Peter Graham

I came on board three months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. I have maintained my practice pattern. I’m sticking wholeheartedly with the program as written. That makes it easy to see what I NEED to work on rather than just playing the shiny places I’ve gone beyond…..I’ve learned to focus 100% on what I’m doing that very minute….I’m developing strength in my left hand...I spend time with the videos in the evenings and always find something more to help me. I’m not looking for info anywhere else. Everything I need is right here in The Woodshed. You say “Jump” and I say “How high.” I’m so grateful I found you. You speak in a language I understand.


-Gloria Mader


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