kevin kelly future guitar

Kevin Kelly on Simple Habits for Guitar

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

“The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it.”

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is, among other things, a futurist. He looks at the current trends and predicts what the future will hold.

He looks at the systems in play. He looks at culture, at history, at cycles. Then he projects them out a decade or century and makes predictions. And he’s been right more than most.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also thinks about the future. He was once asked about what would be different in the future. His reply was that he was more interested in what would be the same.

He puts his energy and resources today into the things that will be the same later. This allows Amazon to get stronger and more robust. The work it does today compounds into the future.

In our own lives, we can ponder what life will be like later. Our habits and routines, the systems and cycles we ride – these will lead to predictable outcomes.

In regular guitar practice, how we use our focus will lead to an outcome later. As will the time we spend (or don’t) on improving our technique and bodily use.

Do we challenge ourselves? Or is practice always play (gratifying and fun maybe, but toothless and stagnant)?

Do we have a routine for practice? Loose or structured, is there a sequence of events? Are there thoughts that repeat throughout? Are they useful and constructive?

Building great habits is important, but not urgent. Especially on guitar, where improvement and growth is relatively slow anyway.

Looking ahead – months, years, decades – what can we predict based on our current habits? Is that what we want?

If not, nows the time to change. And if so, now’s the time to release any doubt and enjoy the journey.

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,
Greetings from the UK. I would like to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. The effort and skill which has gone into creating this program is very evident. I started classical guitar a year or so ago with a teacher but was unable to commit to same time regular slots each week.

The Woodshed Program was exactly what I was looking for. I have found the site very intuitive and well structured and have taken your advice and started from the very beginning of the program whilst still practising some of the pieces I was already working on. It is clear that I will benefit greatly from these early technical studies. There were clearly weaknesses and gaps in my knowledge even though I am still at an early stage. Once again many thanks for the program and very best wishes.


~ Rodger Paylor

-Rodger Paylor

Great advise here. I find I am taking more time with the pieces than I would have in the past as I am focusing on the technique you have taught me. It is slower going at first but has fewer frustrations, is easier and sounds better in the end.


~ Karen Richardson

-Karen Richardson

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