Krispy Kreme on a Healthy, Balanced Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
Doughnuts are a normal part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Brooke Smith, Krispy Kreme spokeswoman.
Vegetables, proteins, doughnuts. Now there’s a food pyramid to get behind!
As ridiculous as this quote sounds, there’s actually some deep truth within it. Or at least when we use it as a metaphor for guitar…
In our musical lives, we have two main elements: practice and play.
- Play is for fun or sharing.
- Practice is to get better.
Too much play, and we find ourselves in a rut, doing the same things over and over.
Too much practice, and we risk feeling overworked and underpaid.
Practice should focus on solving specific, timely problems:
- master this right-hand pattern,
- connect these notes smoothly,
- switch between these chords in rhythm,
Practice is work. It demands focus and concentration. It takes our full attention on a regular basis.
And that’s great. Life is more meaningful with a challenging pursuit. Days are more satisfying when we get in a good, deep practice.
But sometimes we just need a doughnut.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. And sometimes, the best course of action is to let go of all practice concerns and just take the guitar out for a spin.
- Play some old tunes at top speeds, never mind the mistakes.
- Strum and sing a song.
- Sight-read music you have no intention of learning.
- Lean back on the couch with legs crossed and noodle around.
- Do all the things we work so hard not to do in practice.
Just as doughnuts are a normal part of a healthy, balanced diet, goofing off and tinkering around are healthy parts of a balanced guitar practice. Maybe not every day, but when we feel the craving, there’s no harm in caving.
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.
Allen, your website and teaching methods are excellent. You have an easy going yet encouraging way of inspiring people to learn and practice their art. And you are always accessible to your students to personally answer questions. I appreciate ... that personal touch. The course on reading rhythm and playing higher up the neck I found particularly helpful. God bless you and many thanks.
~ Joe Bazan
Your GCS site and The Woodshed community are really super! I am glad I finally joined in, and smacking myself for waiting so long. Thanks again!
~ Carol Morin
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