I look forward to every other Thursday, when I take a jazz guitar lesson with Dave Frackenpohl, who teaches out of Georgia State University. Dave assigns plenty to keep me busy, and even though I've only had a few lessons, they're already paying off. So far, I've been able to take a couple ideas from each lesson and apply them immediately to "real world" playing. I used to think I knew a lot of chord voicings (and I did), but I pick up some useful new voicings with each assignment. I've also picked up some nice licks through transcribing solos.
I'm not as prepared as usual for tomorrow's lesson, but I'm prepared enough. I've had two weeks to practice. The first week, I had a pretty good amount of time to practice my lesson material. This week, I've been busy preparing to lead a music service, and I've been learning a lot of new songs for a gig on Saturday.
I tell my students that it's better to practice a little every day than try to cram all of your practicing into one or two days. This week, I've been taking my own advice. I would love to have spent a couple hours a day practicing my lesson material, but my performance preparation took precedence. I still managed to carve out at least 30 minutes a day for my lesson music, spending 5-10 minutes on each part of the assignment. As a result, I've made slow but steady progress, and I feel prepared for tomorrow.
It seems that part of the reason you can still make good progress by practicing consistently, even for short periods, is that daily practice helps you feel familiar with the music in general. While I couldn't spend as much time practicing for my lesson as I would have liked, I often found my lesson music playing in my head this week. Aside from personal experience, I don't have any evidence to back this up, but I think that, even while I was away from the guitar, my brain was processing my lesson material.
- 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.