Hey There, If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve enjoyed my emails, articles or videos. So first, thanks for reading! I hope they’ve helped your playing.I love using them to communicate isolated ideas (and to geek out over niche topics).
Yet...subscribers requested a guide that takes them through each step of learning classical guitar. That’s why I’ve built The Woodshed. If my weekly lessons are bite-sized snacks, this is the 5-course orchestrated feast.
The course format means we can start at the very basics. You’ll be shown one concept at a time, how to practice, and what the next steps are.
A structured foundation of technique,
reading and patterns
What most students want is to spend evenings lost in some Bach...a relaxed hobby to enjoy with a glass of wine.
They know it takes work, and are motivated to practice. Yet, YouTube teachers are declaring we ‘must’ master these techniques, scales, rhythms, reading, chords, arpeggios and more. With a million things to learn, it’s now a chore, not a hobby.
Now, I won’t pretend it’s easy.
You can’t really “become a guitar god overnight in 3 easy steps....”. Unlike strumming Beatles tunes, classical guitar requires a good amount of sweat. (But let’s avoid the blood and tears, ok?)
With a methodical approach, you can make steady progress instead of spinning your wheels. To make it all digestible, I’ve split my course into three key areas. These are:
- Technique - Move your fingers quickly & comfortably
- Reading - Take the musical notes from the page and play them on the guitar
- Patterns - See the big picture, not thinking note-by-note
The Woodshed starts each of these at the very basics. It doesn’t assume any prior knowledge on your part. For self-taught guitarists, this is a chance to ensure bad habits aren’t holding you back.
You go step-by-step in all the crucial skills. Each skill area builds progressively.
This might be learning to play a rhythm, or using a new technique to play a right-hand pattern. We then tie the lessons together to ensure they’re useful, not just random ideas and concepts.
To use these growing skills, I’ve written completely customized pieces. These only use what you’ve learnt so far. It allows you to play beautiful songs from Lesson #1 that don’t require any unknown techniques.
The Woodshed might not turn you into the next Andre Segovia [or insert your favorite guitarist here]. But you will certainly breeze through pieces you previously thought impossible.
What Does the Phrase "The Woodshed" Mean?
The term "the woodshed" dates back to the early days of jazz and blues. Musicians sought out secluded places to practice. They needed solitude so they could focus and work on their skills.
For these players, it was often the literal woodshed, where the firewood was kept. It was private and free from distraction.
Now, "woodshed" has become a slang term. It means to focus and practice with the goal of building musical skills. It can be a noun or a verb, but always refers to focused, intentional practice.
It's now common to hear musicians the world over using the phrase. For example, "I've been in the woodshed all week preparing for this show." Or, "I've been shedding like crazy on this new tune."
Stay focused on what matters most,
so you move ahead quickly
When building The Woodshed, I wanted thorough yet structured resources. Yes, you’ll gain access to a huge amount of material. But I won’t just pour it out for you to wade through.
The program is arranged into short micro-levels. Each is a mini-series of 2-20min lessons and practice videos. These bring you forward in each of the 6 key areas of classical guitar:
All the core practice areas work together to help you learn and play music more quickly, AND more beautifully.
- The most common right-hand patterns
- Scales and melodies
- Strength and Dexterity Training
- Reading musical notation
- Playing pieces of music
Lessons will take you one small step at a time.You’ll be shown one technique, rhythm idea, or collection of notes to read. That way you can internalize each concept and skill. Clear, focused practice without the overwhelm.
Plus, you get access to all the extra skills and repertoire courses. You can explore more music, and plug any holes you perceive in your playing.
Get your fingers moving quickly, clearly and comfortably
You might be worried that your age or health means you’ll never be able to play those speedy passage. Of course, I’m going to tell you, “It’s all in the technique”. Once you’ve learned how to use your hands efficiently, your fingers will fly across the strings.
You’ve probably seen one of my technique videos, but The Woodshed will cover every essential detail. I’ll break techniques down into three parts.
1. Form - The relationship of your joints and how to hold your hands to make those stretches..
2. Position - Where you hold those forms, e.g. over the sound hole, to produce a rich tone.
3. Movement - How to efficiently move your body to play a note, so you add speed without discomfort.
You’ll discover you’re surprisingly dextrous. With good technique your playing turns from mere notes into real music.
For self-taught players, this allows you to further refine your technique. By removing bad habits, you’ll suddenly be able to play those fast passages without any dead notes.
“Allen Mathews was recommended to me as somebody who could help me expand my guitar vocabulary. Allen started me on a really fun cycle of lessons and practice. He is a very good,and very enthusiastic teacher,and I feel that I'm on the road to learning. I couldn't be more pleased with my experience."
PETER BUCK, R.E.M.
Build up your sight-reading abilities
one aspect at a time
I know sheet music can look like martian hieroglyphics. That’s why we’ll decipher one symbol at a time.
The dedicated sight-reading videos are split into notes and rhythms.
Each note-focused lesson will introduce just a few new notes. You’ll build up ability to instantly translate any note onto the guitar. Soon you’ll be at home anywhere on the fretboard. This means you’ll learn pieces faster, and be able to explore more new music.
The specialized rhythm lessons let you embody all the most common musical rhythms. You’ll come to recognize rhythms like you do old friends, with a sense of easy appreciation.
Understand music’s common building blocks
Composers don’t like admitting this…but most tunes are made up of a limited set of ideas. Once you recognize them, sequences give you a feeling like: “Oh, it’s just a ___!”
The lessons in The Woodshed will take you step-by-step through these concepts.
You’ll learn how the “cowboy chords” in folk and rock songs apply to classical guitar. You’ll then see how passages in classical pieces are often the notes of these chords plucked individually. (It almost feels like cheating).
It’s like learning to read whole words instead of sounding out “a-p-p-l-e”. By recognizing whole phrases, you’ll play new pieces more quickly and easily.
“I would just like to say that I'm really enjoying this course. I no longer feel (a.) That it’s a struggle to learn, and (b.) That I am alone in my endeavours. This is down to the structure of the course and your natural ability to communicate clearly. The course has not only taught me a piece, you are teaching me a whole lot about music - from notation and reading through to a deeper understanding of what music is. I cannot recommend your program highly enough."
Hear instant warmth in your tone,
followed by gradual improvements in fluidity
You can also expect to hear big improvements in a matter of days. It’s like adjusting the color on an old TV: suddenly everything's just better.
These basics go a long way towards beautiful music flowing out of your guitar.
After these (very satisfying) easy wins, come more subtle signs of progress. Over weeks and months, dead notes or big stretches will stop bothering you. You’ll breeze through more intricate pieces. You’ll move more gracefully and enjoy the feeling of using your hands.
It’s these audible signs of progress that make practice so satisfying. And The Woodshed will let you hear them, from the very first lesson, and in each going forward.
Know exactly what and how to practice,
with play-along practice videos
You won’t be sent off with an “Okay, go find a way to practice that!” after each lesson.
I know it can be hard to decide what to actually do when you sit down to practice. Maybe it stops you from even starting.
That’s why every lesson has guided play-along practice videos. They'll guide you through exactly what pattern, rhythm, or technique you should be using at each point and how to combine them.
You can follow the exercise, happy that your new skills are being reinforced in a methodical manner.
Detailed Practice Logs,
to Keep You Organized
To track your progress, each micro-level has it’s own practice log, which also acts as a syllabus.
When you sit down and pick up your guitar, you can dive into the meaningful practice that moves the needle. You get more done in less time because you're so focused.
The practice log will tell you exactly what to practice. That way you can get directly to work and stay on track. Clear benchmarks help you self-assess and know precisely when you’re ready to move on to the next level.
Stay focused and organized with
detailed practice logs you can print.
Gain a whole support network for your passion
The aim might be evenings lost in your playing, but it’s also fun to share your enthusiasm or have help when you’re stuck.
ANYTIME EMAIL SUPPORT - You get unlimited email support. You can send a quick question and get an answer, usually within 24 hours.
PERSONAL VIDEO REVIEW - You can share videos with us privately, and we will share thoughts on what’s working and what your next steps may be. Be at ease, instructions are included!
FREE PRIVATE VIDEO CALLS - Sometimes we need that little nudge to get our head around an issue. So I’ve included 1-on-1 Skype calls as part of your membership. You can schedule sessions online. Then, by the miracles of technology, we can check in and see how it’s all going. We can look at the technique that isn’t feeling right, passages you’re struggling with, concepts that aren’t clicking, or any other questions.
MEMBER’S PRIVATE COMMUNITY- Your family might not appreciate you showing them endless guitar videos. That’s why you’ll be part of a private online community of fellow guitarists.
You can share your progress, interesting articles, or favourite recordings. Or you can just browse what others share. Now you won’t be alone in your guitar-learning journey. Instead, you can be inspired and (if you like) inspiring!
Here is what you’ll receive as part of your membership:
Unlimited access to The Woodshed Program,
...to take you from fundamentals through to expert guitarist, one small step at a time. Full structured and organized so you always know the path forward.
Unlimited personal video review,
...for when you’d like to get an expert eye on your playing. Catch any small mistakes and get timely tips for improvement.
Free video calls with a qualified coach,
...so we can talk through any stumbling blocks or questions. Be 100% certain you're "doing it right".
Unlimited email support,
...for when you have small questions about your playing or practice
Unlimited access to The Woodshed Library,
...with over 2700 instructional and play-along videos, so you always know what and how to practice new skills
Full access to all 67+ premium courses,
...taking you through specific skills and repertoire
Custom pieces for strategic learning,
...written to only use the material and techniques you’ve learned so far while still sounding beautiful.
One-of-a-kind materials, worksheets, and practice tools
...so you can master music theory, reading music (sight-reading), memorizing music, and more
Printable practice logs,
...to track your progress and tell you exactly when you’re ready for the next level
Minute-by-Minute Structured Practice Routines
...so you can sit down and get right to it, while learning how to use your practice time well
...so you can keep track of your successes and reflect on your practice habits
Access to all new videos,
...so you can make use of all my constantly updated material
Access to The Woodshed Community,
...where you can connect with others with the same interests, and share in progress and enthusiasm
Entrance to Member Open Mic Zoom Calls,
...where you can perform for other members, or just listen to what other folks are working on
Entrance to Member Q&A Zoom Calls (generally monthly)
...where you can ask questions and learn more about guitar, practice, and music
An Accountability Partner
...so you can have a practice buddy to keep you on track and feeling connected (optional, included with membership)
- Adults looking to start or improve classical guitar
- Guitarists wanting a program to go from the very basics to advanced playing
- Aspiring guitarists of all ages who are excited to explore the world of music
- Guitarists who want to play beautiful music, without damaging their hands
- Experts wanting to become professional players
- Beginners seeking a work-free shortcut to progress
- People without an internet connection for streaming videos (videos are now downloadable for special circumstances!)
- Students unwilling to work to adjust any existing bad habits
100% Satisfaction or your money back, PLUS....
You must be completely excited and thrilled with your membership. If not, I demand you request a refund. My main goal is to maintain a solid, trusting relationship with you. If you're not happy, I don't want your money.
If you feel it’s not the best place for you, simply email me within 30 days for an immediate 100% refund. No hassles, No flim-flam. Promise.
But just a refund isn't enough. In addition you can also choose any premium course to keep at no extra charge (even the expensive ones). Tell me which you prefer, and we'll activate it on your account.
Worst case scenario, you’ll learn some new skills without spending a penny. Plus you'll gain a premium course for free. So you have zero risk.
Automatically renews monthly from join date. Change or cancel your membership anytime. No contracts.
Pay by the year and get 12 months for the price of 8!
Automatically renews yearly. Change or cancel your membership anytime. No contracts.
Join for 3 years now and save $805 vs. the monthly membership.
After 3 years you'll automatically switch to a yearly membership. No contracts.
- Click one of the "sign up now" buttons above to choose your membership. You'll then go to the checkout page.
- Simply complete the checkout, and you'll be guided directly into the program to get started.
- You'll find everything you need to settle in and learn your way around.
"I love the site. The program is perfect for me. I can choose when and what I want to practice without feeling any pressure that I have to accomplish a certain task in a certain period of time. It is unbelievable how much material you offer for so little amount of $$. This, together with your outstanding instruction videos, makes the site a perfect tool for anyone to work at his/her own pace. The only thing I regret is not having joined the Woodshed sooner!"
The Woodshed is comprehensive, systematically organized, easy to understand, easy to navigate, and reasonably priced. However, you are not alone in the Woodshed. It is much more than self-instruction. It's like having an instructor working with you every day. Allen’s teaching style in the videos and text is clear and concise. He responds promptly to questions emailed to him. He will review video of your playing and provide prompt and thoughtful assessment of your playing at any given stage in your progression. Most importantly, all of his instruction is focused on teaching you to bring out the full potential of each song you play – in other words he teaches you to “play beautifully”. I entered The Woodshed about 6 months ago and I haven’t been disappointed in the decision.
DR. STEVE DOSH