Einstein guitar problems

Einstein on Staying with Problems Longer

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

  “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer”.

                    Albert Einstein

In our journey with each piece of music, we come to certain predictable landmarks.

And each of these landmarks marks a completion of some aspect of our learning.

For instance, when we finally get all the notes in hand, we (rightly) pause and pat ourselves on the back.

But if we stop here and move to the next new piece, we never rise above “just playing notes”.

Getting the notes, while no small feat, is only the first step in playing a piece of music.

Once we have the notes in hand, we can work on the balance of melody versus bass and accompaniment. We can mold the sinews that tie one phrase to the next. We can craft little details that give listeners psychological insights into the character of the music.

In our explorations of a piece, we may discover a musical opportunity that is beyond our current technical ability (such as playing the bass notes short and separated while the melody is flowing and connected). So here we find something new to practice.

Einstein would ponder problems for years. He taught himself to be comfortable with open-ended questions. He accepted that some things just take time to come together.

We can bring this patience and dedication to our music. We can go beyond hacking out notes. We may not always know exactly what to do next. But if we stay with it, we’ll grow as musicians. We’ll enjoy deeper relationships with our music. We’ll discover more meaning and fulfillment than simple notes can offer.

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.

I just upgraded. I have been thinking about it since day one, but wanted to see how it works out for me. I have to say, even though I did not put as much effort in as I expected to, I already hear and feel Improvements when playing compositions I learned some time ago, before joining The Woodshed.



~ Alexey Neyman

-Alexey Neyman

After more than a year as a member, I remain impressed with the Woodshed, song courses, Tuesday quotes, weekly lessons, and the CGS community. Without my membership, I think my enthusiasm for learning classical guitar would have faded long ago. Instead, I am enjoying the process as I make steady progress in my playing.


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-Steve Dosh

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