Captain Jack Sparrow on Guitar Practice Attitude
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
Captain Jack Sparrow
Classical guitar is a long game. Sure, we can accomplish much through spurts of high action. But the real joy and progress come with showing up day after day, year after year. It’s the incremental improvements that reward us.
To keep showing up, it helps to feel good about the whole affair. We need to feel pulled toward our practice. We can only push for so long before we lose the willpower.
Frustration is demotivating. Unmet expectations zap our energy. Doubt and fear take the fun out of it.
Most often, these manifest themselves as small events in practice. We feel we should have mastered that small section by now. We assume other people have it easier (they don’t) and judge ourselves harshly.
These nagging frustrations erode our musical experience. They chip away at our confidence and creativity. They undermine our intentions and make practice more difficult.
Instead of forming habits of negative self-talk and insecurity, we can stay upbeat.
When we encounter tricky spots and hard lessons, we can take it in stride. These are normal – all part of the game. These obstacles help us grow. They offer the opportunity to try new solutions and experiment with different perspectives.
When we face challenges (and we will, daily) we have a choice: up or down. Will we use this challenge as sport, or will we take it as a personal affront?
In practice, it’s just the music, the instrument and us. No one else is involved. We can find joy and meaning in the work, or we can crumble. The choice is ours, each day and each moment.
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 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
I have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.
~ Harlan Friedman
Click the button to take a step towards an
organized, effective guitar practice. >>>