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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Skype Lessons

I just finished a Skype lesson with an old friend, Matt, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. What a way to reconnect! It's amazing to me to help a beginning guitar player halfway around the world, and I also found it amusing that he had to remove his gun belt at the beginning of his lesson.

Aside from growing up in rural Illinois, Matt and I have a few other things in common. We were both trombone players. I was in the Air Force. Matt is currently in the Air Force. (I left after 4 years, but Matt has made a career of it.) As adults, each of us talked to our wives (now my ex) about how we really wanted to start playing guitar…enough that they got tired of hearing about it and eventually bought guitars for us. Matt is even interested in folk/bluegrass with a possibility of playing jazz at some point.

Today's lesson was lots of fun. It was wonderful to reconnect, and Matt did really well for his first lesson. We began by working on A minor and E chords, and then we progressed to C and G7. Matt did remarkably well in forming the C and G7 chords. He actually played the C chord correctly on the first try, which is rare for a beginner. We decided that this was probably because trombone players are naturally gifted. That's our theory, anyway. Toward the end of the lesson, we began applying the C and G7 chords to Jambalaya. This is always a good song for starters. It's catchy, fun to sing, and only has two chords. I had also forgotten that Matt has a good voice, so it's going to be a lot of fun to help him learn songs.

Matt has ordered a guitar method book. Being inconveniently located in Afghanistan, overnight delivery is out of the question. It'll be a couple weeks before that book arrives, but we have plenty of material in the meantime. Once that book arrives, we'll spend about half the time on chords/songs and the other half in the book.

This was just a fun lesson overall – reconnecting with a friend who has the potential to be a good guitar player. I'm looking forward to our next lesson!

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