Henry David Thoreau guitar practice

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.








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 just started level 1C...I was able to look at a Carulli piece, albeit a simple one, and understand it. And that understanding allowed me to play it much more easily on the first run through, and I expect it will allow me to make it fully musical at tempo quite soon. That's a huge personal victory for me. Until very recently my mindset was: "Notes on a page. Jimi didn't need them and I don't either." But I ain't Jimi, and now I want those notes on a page.
My work in CGS, even at these early levels, got me to that personal breakthrough. And that's given me more confidence that continued work will get me to greater places in due time. So to answer your question: yes, I absolutely feel like I'm making headway and moving forward in my playing. Thank you for that.
~ Matthew Ecker

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I came on board three months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. I have maintained my practice pattern. I’m sticking wholeheartedly with the program as written. That makes it easy to see what I NEED to work on rather than just playing the shiny places I’ve gone beyond…..I’ve learned to focus 100% on what I’m doing that very minute….I’m developing strength in my left hand...I spend time with the videos in the evenings and always find something more to help me. I’m not looking for info anywhere else. Everything I need is right here in The Woodshed. You say “Jump” and I say “How high.” I’m so grateful I found you. You speak in a language I understand.

 

~ Gloria Mader


-Gloria Mader



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