terence mckenna guitar practice

Terence McKenna on the Perfect Online Guitar Lesson

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

“The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer.”

Terence McKenna

It’s fun to not know things. It’s entertaining to research and explore on the internet. We can sample a thousand ideas, and ping-pong from one to the next.

Someone once said that, “Satisfaction is the death of desire.”

We want the satisfaction, but we also enjoy the desire. And therein lies the rub.

When the satisfaction requires effort, we may avoid the work and feed the desire. This is the trap.

When we read a new article, watch more Youtube videos, or shop for a new book, we feel like we’re accomplishing something. It feels like progress, even though we end up at the same place we started.

To “face the answer”, as Terence McKenna said, we have to pick up our guitars and do something.

If we want to play better from musical notation, we have to look at notes on the page and play them on the guitar. There’s no substitute for practice.

If we want better flexibility, we don’t need to scour the web for the perfect stretch. Instead, we can do whatever stretch comes to mind. It’s the doing that’s important. We can always refine later.

Of course some methods and techniques ARE better than others. But if we’re not in the habit of acting on what we discover, we probably won’t use the better method either. Instead, we’ll convince ourselves that we need to do a little more research.

We already know enough to dive in. And even if we’re not “doing it right”, we still benefit from time spent with fingers on strings.

Even if we have to go back and re-train our movements later, we still get the enjoyment of practicing guitar now.

It’s fun to surf and browse and read and watch. But it’s deeply satisfying to see improvement in something we work at for the love of it.

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

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

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