Warren Buffett on Musical Fundamentals and the Long Game

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

“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” 

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett has become a financial icon. Over his lifetime, he has amassed investments worth billions.

But he’s no wizard. He has no clever tricks. No superpowers.

The key to his long term success is this: He invests in companies with strong foundations. And then he stays with the investments for decades.

It’s said he makes perhaps three decisions a year. He’s not scrolling through Youtube looking for the next big idea. He’s not bouncing from this to that.

Instead, he finds something he believes in, and sticks with it.

In guitar, we can model this. We can do the same. And like Buffett, we’ll see massive returns.

For us as musicians this translates to fundamentals. How do we move our hands? What is our technique? How do we engage the string?

If we can find a trustworthy, safe, reliable strategy for right-hand technique, it’s all we need. We can practice this for a few minutes each day and know that we are laying the tracks for a lifetime of great playing.

In addition to this, we can build the skills that will serve us over the long haul. We can learn to sightread musical notation. We can learn the vocabulary and language of music. We can master rhythm. We can listen to varied styles of music – even if only to understand how it is different than other styles.

And besides focusing on fundamentals, we can identify what NOT to do. We can learn the common mistakes guitarists make. Then we can avoid them at all costs.

These include poor technique and unfocused practice. And bouncing from one thing to the next before seeing the desired results.

Perhaps the biggest mistake we can avoid is an erroneous concept of what guitar practice is. It’s not always entertainment. It’s intentional work toward a future result. It’s solving tough problems. It’s repetition under the microscope. It’s honing and polishing.

Warren Buffett does not jump ship on the days when it doesn’t go well. The days come and go. Some are up and some are down. Guitar practice may be the same in this respect. Some days everything comes together easily. Other days it feels like we’ve regressed.

Over time, the trend is up. And if we hold true to solid fundamentals, we break through all barriers. Obstacles eventually dissolve or detours present themselves.

And if we can continue to show up and sit down with the guitar, we reap the benefits of a life well-spent with music. We enjoy the fruits that only come from the compound interest of deliberate practice over time.

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.

Hi Allen,
First public performance ever! I am up to Level 1E in The Woodshed program. It is certainly mega helpful.


~ Peter Graham

-Peter Graham

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

-Joaquin Kenyon

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