- 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.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
It has taken a while to reach this point, and I'm pausing for a moment to appreciate the journey. When I first began playing guitar, I set a goal of becoming a professional guitarist in 10 years. Surprise! Ten years later, here I am.
I'm far from being the best guitar player in town, but I seem to have carved out a place for myself. I have a part time music director job at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, teach guitar lessons at home and at Tessitura, and am landing a fair number of gigs. If I had to rely on just one of these endeavors, I wouldn't subsist, but when you put them all together, it means that rent and bills are being payed, and I even have some cash left over at the end of the month. A miracle!
Things seem to be trending upwards in general. My church job recently expanded from 10 to 15 hours. (I'm hoping that this will grow to 20 hours over time.) I teach a little over a dozen guitar students and enjoy a good rate of retention. (I eventually want to grow the roster to 30 students.) I recently got in good with an event planning company that has already hired me for 3 gigs. (I don't want to be playing every single night, but I would like to eventually play 2-3 of these good gigs per week.)
Without doing something every day to improve my musicianship, all other success is hollow, so first and foremost, I strive to become a better musician. I have a long way to go as a pro guitar player, but, looking back at where I started, I'm pleasantly surprised at where I am today, and I'm excited about what tomorrow will bring.