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.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unitarian Real Book

When I was first getting into jazz guitar, I practiced sight-reading by playing through all the Real Book volumes. At first it was slow going, but my sight-reading gradually improved. At this point, I can sight-read just about anything at tempo unless it's a really fast bebop tune.

My piano playing skills are gradually improving, and I'm finding that I'm able to learn new music more quickly. I still can't play anything up to performance tempo, but I'm getting close. Just as it is with guitar, I feel it's crucial for me to sight-read well on piano. One of my main goals is to be able to play hymns for church services, and I also want to be able to cover the piano accompaniment for choir if there is an emergency with our paid accompanist. In both cases, I need to be a good sight-reader.

To develop my sight-reading as a pianist, I'm slowly making my way through the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, just as I used the Real Book for jazz guitar. I'm killing two birds with one stone by simultaneously developing my sight-reading skills while learning the hymnal in depth.

At this point, it takes a while to slog my way through a few hymns. This can be frustrating, but I keep reminding myself that this is the way it was when I started reading through the Real Book on guitar. I'll get there. My guess is that I'll feel comfortable making my piano debut in early 2013.

1 comment:

  1. When I read the title I thought it was going to be an argument against the teal hymnal and how the grey is the "real" one. Now I have learned a new thing!