As I was driving home tonight, I said out loud to myself, "Oh cool! I have a lesson tomorrow." Yes, I talk to myself, but we're fine with that.
When I was going to college, there was a strange phenomenon. Some music majors actually dreaded their private lessons. I never understood this. You're majoring in music, yet you don't prepare for your private lessons…the single most important thing that will make you a better player on your instrument. Your teacher is laying out a path for you. There's no guesswork on your part. If you have a good teacher, his or her assignments will be tailored to your strengths, weakness, and overall level of skill. All you have to do is practice your lesson material, show up to your lesson prepared to best of your ability, and then get another assignment.
I didn't really look at it like this in college. I just knew that whatever my teachers were telling me to play, it was making me a better player. Now that I'm "old," at least from a college student's point of view, I really appreciate what my teachers did for me. That's why I perked up tonight when I remembered that my guitar lesson is tomorrow. I've practiced hard and have made good progress on my current assignment. Tomorrow, I'll play my best, get some feedback, and go home with a new assignment, leaving with more knowledge than I had at the beginning of the hour.
- 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.