Albert Schweitzer on Attention and Gratitude in Daily Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”
As we progress as musicians, we tackle the big new pieces. We learn the new finger acrobatic exercises. We challenge ourselves in new ways and at new levels.
And this is good. We need to ride the edge of “hard, but not too hard” to get better. And this includes learning pieces that stretch us.
But as we focus on the future and dive into large projects (or large for us, where we currently are), it’s easy to forget what Schweitzer calls “the flowers that bloom at our feet”.
These are the treasures we can enjoy right now, in this moment.
We can be grateful for the opportunity to explore such a beautiful instrument, and such beautiful music. We can note the joys of feeling our fingers on the strings. We can relish the current “problem” or challenge.
It’s easy to become so focused on the end result, that we forget to actually hear the sound coming out of our instrument.
This is a duality we can work on. We can learn to hold both sides: first, the moonshots and horizons, and second, the magic and marvel of daily practice.
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.
I am truly enjoying the growth and challenge that the Woodshed material provides. I look forward to working hard and learning much in the years ahead. Thanks for all the effort and care that you have taken in providing these lessons and resources!
~ Mark Whitsett
I have to say, two practices later [after a video review] with the new position - the difference it's made in my playing is... unbelievable, really. It's like many months of improvement overnight.
Everything is so much more secure, left-hand stretches are easier, I feel like I'm getting way more volume for the same effort, the tone is noticeably better all along the neck, and the list goes on.
~ Alexander Mosolov
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