As a jazz guitarist, I've made a lot of progress in a short time, but sometimes I receive a clear reminder that I have a long way to go. This is not a bad thing. It's simply part of the process.
I've been working on some new licks. At last night's gig, I planned to use as many of them as I could, but once the gig got underway, I had so many new licks to think about that I hardly used them at all. I found myself noodling a lot, looking for places to play the new material. My solos weren't horrid, but they weren't very inspired, either.
I approached this morning's gig differently. Instead of trying to use all my new licks, I decided to just focus on two of them – one for a major key, and one for a minor key. I didn't put pressure on myself to use them all the time. Instead, I played them whenever it seemed right. It worked like a charm. Overall, I was satisfied with my solos.
So, lesson learned. I'll continue to learn new licks in my private practice sessions, but when it's time for a gig, I'll plan on incorporating just one or two of them into my solos. Quality over quantity. Eventually, the new material will become a natural part of my playing, and then I'll add some more, bit by bit.
- 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.