Mark Twain on Comfort and Self-Approval in Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own self-approval.”
One of the reasons we play music is to have a better life. We want to study and grow. We relish meaningful work.
But even though we’re in it for the right reasons, it can sometimes feel like we’ve “gotten behind”.
If we set expectations to practice two hours a day, and only get in one hour, we’ve failed. When it takes “longer than it should” to learn something, we don’t feel successful.
And when we label our work “failure”, it doesn’t feel good.
Twain observes that we need to approve of ourselves to be truly comfortable.
This short, pithy phrase can be a powerful tool when we feel dishearted or frustrated with our music. We can explore where we “don’t approve” of ourselves. And when we find it, we can check for unrealistic expectations.
We can lower the bar to success, and enjoy more of it. We can define success as simply picking up the instrument and playing one note or chord.
When we do, we build more momentum and enthusiasm. And these lead to better focus, faster learning, and a more rewarding musical life.
We play music for fun. Setting attainable goals helps keep it that way.
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 appreciate the organized, well thought out progression of each level, as well as a measurable means to determine when to proceed to the next level. I had burned myself out by pushing too hard and playing beyond where I was comfortable. This course is just what I needed, and I am happy to be back on the road to playing again.
~ Susan Kidney
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
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