Being a musician is a wonderful thing, but there are times when it can feel like a job. "Job." Just the sound of that short word sends shivers down my spine!
A few days ago, I found myself in a funk after finishing a short run of All Shook Up with Act3 Productions. I don't think I realized how much I needed a break from guitar playing until after that last show. In most ensemble situations, I am able to learn the music quickly without deviating much from my normal practice routine. All Shook Up was different. It was a difficult book to learn, and even during the run of the show, I had to stay on top of it by spending at least 30 minutes running through the tricky parts before each show. Over the past three months, I spent a large percentage of my practice time working on this show book. I cut way back on my usual regimen of licks and sight-reading, and I wasn't able to commit much time to learning new songs for my own repertoire.
After the show, I didn't practice for two days, which is highly unusual for me. I love playing guitar, but even with music, there can be too much of a good thing. If I hadn't had to teach a few lessons and play some rehearsals, I probably wouldn't have touched the guitar at all for two days.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't take back a minute of the time I spent learning All Shook Up. It took me way out of my comfort zone and forced me to become a better guitarist. I'm glad I took the two day break, though. I feel rejuvenated and ready to play again. It feels good to get back to my regular routine, and I cherish the "alone time" with my guitar more than ever.
- 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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.