In negotiating with a client for this weekend's gig, I asked two inevitable questions: Can we bring a guest? Will there be food? His answer was that yes, we can each bring a guest, but they have to dress appropriately. (This is for a black tie affair.) We can also eat the food, but, as he wrote, "I am comfortable with you bringing a family member as long as everyone is responsible in consumption of food and alcohol. Last year, the band ate and drank everything we had, so they left a bad taste in people's mouth."
This isn't the first time I've heard this kind of warning. Last year a corporate client told my band that we were free to visit the buffet between sets, but "please don't get drunk." This was ironic, considering I've had exactly one beer in my entire life. She seemed a little surprised when I told her I didn't drink, as if I had destroyed her stereotype of a working musician.
This illustrates that being a professional musician is about more than just being able to play circles around the competition. Equally important is the way you conduct yourself on and off stage. This Saturday, InTown Band will play a cocktail set at 8 and a dance set at 10 at the Cherokee Arts Center. We'll have an hour break, during which we can eat and mingle with guests. During our break, we're going to be "on the job" just as much we are when we're onstage.
As for me, I'm not the hottest guitar player in town, but there's something to be said for showing up on time, properly dressed, and on my best behavior. A great audition or demo will get you a gig, but acting like a pro will earn repeat customers.
- 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.