Thoreau on Looking Back and Moving Forward
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”
Henry David Thoreau
For most of us, practice is not imperative. No one scolds us if we miss a practice. No one checks to make sure we played our scales. No one holds us to our personal musical commitments.
So it’s no surprise we slip sometimes. We skip a day, then a week. We eagerly begin a new study of music theory. We begin a daily sight-reading practice. Then somehow, we “forget” about them.
If we give meaning to these failures, we may lose motivation. Negative self-talk can convince us of all sorts of nonsense. We can find ourselves thinking we’re somehow flawed, as opposed to just human.
In reality, all we have is today. And today we can choose what we do and how.
Indeed, the only way forward is to do good work today. Yesterday’s misfires and aborted attempts matter not a whit. And looking back with regret or shame serves no worthwhile purpose.
In the same respect, the grand dreams of tomorrow are only useful if we move toward them today.
Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, warned, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
And Byron Katie said, “Want regret? Get a past. Want anxiety? Get a future.”
Somewhere in the balance of all our mental and emotional chatter, we have today. We can both acknowledge the past and plan for the future. But we yield power only here today.
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.
For the first time ever, I have achieved great tone on my acoustic guitars. I've been studying fingerstyle guitar and music theory for about one year now. Tonight is the first time, I feel quite satisfied with my ability to produce a nice clear tone when striking the strings with my right hand fingers. By following your training videos in the program, I'm gradually developing my fingerstyle playing ability. KUDOS to you, Allen Mathews.
~ Joaquin Kenyon
I am truly enjoying the growth and challenge that the Woodshed material provides. I look forward to working hard and learning much in the years ahead. Thanks for all the effort and care that you have taken in providing these lessons and resources!
~ Mark Whitsett
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