Amelia Earhart on How to Do Anyhing Effectively

Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

Amelia Earhart

Playing guitar, like many things, is a hands-on activity. Especially at first.

Some techniques and movements work better than others. Some are safer on the body and sound better. And we can aspire to these.

But to begin, anything is better than nothing. If we wait until we know all the perfect methods, we’ll likely never start.

Will we make mistakes and have to retrain later? Almost certainly, even in the best circumstances.

But we gain momentum. And momentum and enthusiasm will bring us further faster. (Kevin Kelly once wrote that enthusiasm adds 25 IQ points.)

Before we build momentum we may feel overwhelm and discouragement. And somehow this may be mixed with a dose of cautious optimism. This is natural, and realistic. There’s much to learn.

But as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “What one has to do usually can be done.”

If we jump in and start, taking each step as it comes, we do progress.

In any given day, we face the conflict of “good” and “good enough”. We have ideas of the perfect practice. And if we don’t have time, we may be tempted to skip it altogether.

Instead, we can set a low bar to success. We can deem any practice worthwhile, even if we don’t see any immediate improvement. Just five minutes of chord practice, or three minutes of sight-reading – these pull us forward.

Small practices, snatched between other tasks and obligations compound over time. Before we know it, a year has passed and we’re playing better.

But if we falter in the small moments, we may reason ourselves out of picking up the guitar.

To quote Bruce Lee, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Instead, we’ve simply to pick up the instrument and meet a small challenge. Then again.

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 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.

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


~ Peter Graham

-Peter Graham

For the first time ever, I have achieved great tone on my acoustic guitars. I've been studying fingerstyle guitar and music theory for about one year now. Tonight is the first time, I feel quite satisfied with my ability to produce a nice clear tone when striking the strings with my right hand fingers. By following your training videos in the program, I'm gradually developing my fingerstyle playing ability. KUDOS to you, Allen Mathews.


~ Joaquin Kenyon

-Joaquin Kenyon

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