About Me

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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.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Makes You Happy?

This was the plan: Put in 20 years playing trombone in the Air Force (which would have allowed me to draw a pension), and then find a college teaching job until I decide to retire. At this point in my life, I would have been playing in the Air Force for around 17 years. I probably would have owned a house by now, and I would have made a lot of college connections through presenting masterclasses and performing recitals.

That was the plan, but a lip injury put a stop to all that. Today, I'm 44 years old, living in a basement studio apartment, starting over on a completely different instrument (guitar), struggling to find good paying gigs, and often having trouble making ends meet.

So why am I so happy? If I were the kind of person to dwell on the past and keep second guessing myself, I'd probably be miserable, but the past is the past. The only constructive thing I can do about the past is to accept its lessons.

The main reason I'm happy is that I'm doing what I love to do.

Material things don't make me happy. A new guitar or amp will temporarily thrill me, but they don't make me happy deep down. Would I like to have a house or a large bank account? You bet! But it's not high on my priority list. What is high on my priority list is making music. Fortunately, this doesn't require a lot of money or a large home. I can make music just as easily in my small apartment as I can in a mansion, and practicing, not money, is what will make me a better musician.

Maybe someday I'll be able to afford a house, or maybe I'll continue living in a studio apartment for the rest of my days. Maybe I'll stay in Atlanta, or maybe I'll be lured to another city by a steady gig. Maybe I'll find work performing on cruise ships, or maybe I'll develop a respectable private teaching practice and stay put. Whatever the gig, wherever I am, as long as I'm making music, that'll be enough for me.

So what makes you happy?

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