- 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.
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.