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, May 20, 2013

No Show

A new student didn't show up to his lesson today. It comes with the territory. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. I had a feeling he wasn't going to be here. This was an adult student – a really good blues player who wanted to play jazz standards. In our first lesson, he seemed resistant to improving his music reading abilities, which is a problem. He told me that he wants to be able to do what I do. Now, a big part of my rapid progress as a guitarist is my ability to read music. If you want to be able to do what I do, but you're not willing to improve your reading, then you're not going to be able to do what I do, period.

Many self taught guitarists seem to think that being able to read music is a secondary skill. They point to this guitar player or that guitar player as an example of a successful musician who doesn't read music. These are guitarists who have so much inborn talent and drive that they would have found a way to succeed whether the could read or not. Believe me, those players are the exceptions. I don't know of a single musician who wishes he could give up his reading skills.

Losing this student is my fault. I should never have accepted him in the first place. From now on, when an adult intermediate contacts me about jazz guitar lessons, I will make it abundantly clear that if they want to take lessons from me, they will be learning to read.

1 comment:

  1. As a pretty good player who can read tab and chord charts reasonably well, I know I'll never have the time or patience to go back to square one and learn to read, I'm surprised this guy thought he could.
    As a matter of fact the only person I've ever known who successfully went back to square one to learn a new instrument is a good friend of mine who happens to be an ex-trombonist...