The next sentence is not uttered by many musicians. This week I'll be attending a business seminar and networking event.
In March, I exhibited in a bridal show at the Cobb Galleria. It was expensive, but I looked on it as an investment. This was a chance to meet people who are in a position to hire musicians – not just future brides, but event planners, caterers, and other professionals.
Last month I learned that exhibitors at the Elite Events shows are invited to seminars and networking meetings. That's how I ended up signing up for a networking event this week. This is going to be a whole new experience for me. As I understand it, during the networking hour, each person will stand and give a 1-2 minute speech about their business. I wrote my presentation yesterday morning, and I've been practicing my little speech as diligently as I practice my scales. One benefit to my daily walk, aside from losing weight, is that it gives me a lot of time to practice my speech.
I volunteered to play solo jazz guitar at the seminar. I'll be playing during the 30-minute registration and during the lunch hour. I'm doing Elite Events a favor by providing mood music, but this is equally beneficial to me. While the rest of the participants have two minutes to present their business to the whole room, I have two minutes of speaking time plus ninety minutes of playing time to demonstrate exactly what I do. The funny thing is that I'm more nervous about my two-minute speech than I am about playing solo guitar for an hour and a half!
I haven't even been to it yet, but this seminar has already helped me. The process of preparing a two-minute speech has helped me adjust my focus. I'm juggling many, many projects, but where does it all tie in? Simple. My goal is to become the #1 background guitar player in Atlanta. An unusual goal? Yes, but there it is. My whole life has been one unconventional turn after another.
Today is Sunday. The seminar is Wednesday. I hope to start friendly relationships with event planners, caterers, restaurant and hotel representatives, and anyone else who is interested in live music. If you happen to see me talking out loud on my morning walk, I'm practicing my speech. If you happen to see me talking out loud on my morning walk after Wednesday, I'm just talking to myself. Wish me luck!
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.