As a musician, this has been a busy Christmas season. In the past two weeks, I played ten gigs and did a photo shoot. I have three gigs coming up this week (possibly four), including a radio interview. This isn't to brag; it's to write about how grateful I am to be playing a lot.
Last year at this time, I played a few gigs, but nowhere near as many as this year. Like most musicians, I often wish I had more gigs. It's easy to get caught up in fretting over what's happening now, but looking back over the past few years gives me some perspective. Compared to last year, month by month I've been playing out more frequently. I'm definitely making progress in the quantity of gigs, and the quality of gigs is also improving. To me, a quality gig has to either pay well or be fun. Of course, the best gigs are the ones that are fun and pay well!
My eventual goal is to perform as frequently throughout the year as I have been this December, and next holiday season I hope to be in a position where I have to turn down some gigs and pass them along to my other musician friends. I would love to be playing 4-5 quality gigs each week as a soloist or with bass or piano, with Tea for Two or InTown Band, as a member of a big band or sitting in with a combo, singing or strictly performing instrumentals, center stage or as background music. You get the idea.
This is my mission statement, lovingly taped to my computer. "I will make a quiet, comfortable living playing the music I love." I'm not quite making a living at it yet, but I'm getting there. Meanwhile, I'm thankful for this busy holiday season and for the gigs I've played this year.
- 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.