Robin Sharma on Excellence Over Time

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

“Daily ripples of excellence over time become a tsunami of success.”

Robin S. Sharma

What is excellence? How may we become excellent in our practice?

In the moment, excellence doesn’t always feel like anything special. We may not even notice it. This is because excellence is born of awareness and attention.

We release other thoughts and the dramas of life. We put our attention on the fine details of our work. We slow down enough to play what and how we intend.

Eckhart Tolle has said, “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” And this also holds true in our guitar practice.

One way to exercise awareness in practice is to actively listen to the sounds of our playing. Not only the imagined perfection in our “mind’s ear,” but every little sound that comes from the guitar.

Awareness in practice means we hear every scrape, buzz and bump. We hear the tone quality. We hear the volume of each note and its relationship to the previous notes. We feel our fingers and muscles. Our thoughts stay on the current task.

Then, we seek to match these sounds and feelings with our imagined version of perfection. We usually know what we want to hear and feel. And in practice we hold these two renditions side by side, honing reality to match our mental interpretation of “right.”

Excellence in practice means we take care. We spend the extra minute shining light into the murky depths of a problem. We seek solutions.

The more aware we are, the more “wrong” we may become aware of. But this shouldn’t dishearten us, and instead can encourage us. Awareness itself is a long-term strategy that leads to better playing and more daily enjoyment.

As we accept the gap between where we are and where we want to be, we can release the end goal and focus on the work at hand. We can buttress the weak spots and hone the strong. We can practice for its own sake – a lifelong puzzle with which we tinker and toil, happily and pleasantly, like tending a garden or sailing a boat.

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 think the program levels are a great way to teach the guitar. I have had several teachers over the past few years and none came close to the structured organization that you have put together.


~ Peter Marior

-Peter Marior

This is the ideal starting position for me. As a relative beginner with no teacher this is helping me enormously in developing good technique and not falling into bad habits. I no longer feel (A) That it's a struggle to learn a new piece and (B) That I am alone in my endeavors. My advice is to try The Woodshed program. It is fantastic and will not only bring up your playing but his explanations of musical concepts as you go along put things into perspective.


~ John Andersson

-John Andersson

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