One of the nice things about my job at NWUUC (Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation) is that I have two months off during the summer. Some of this time will be spent in intense learning situations. I'll be attending the annual UUMN Conference in a couple weeks, and I'll be taking a weeklong workshop in teaching group piano to children the last week of July. By then, I'll be gearing up for another church year at NWUUC, planning for piano classes at Tessitura, and welcoming back some guitar students who were away for the summer.
For now, I've had a few weeks with nothing to do but practice guitar. This has been such a luxury! When I was in college, I practiced trombone for hours. Back then, I took it for granted that I would always have loads of time to practice. I assumed a professional musician would spend his time either practicing, rehearsing, or performing. Silly me.
I practice quite a bit, but I normally have to plan around music engraving, teaching private lessons, and my church music director job, not to mention chasing down gigs, keeping up a website, etc. Sometimes a big music engraving project or an obligation at NWUUC will eat into my practice time, and I'm lucky to be able to run through scales and arpeggios.
At present, I'm off for the summer, my teaching schedule is light due to summer schedules, and I don't have any music engraving projects to finish. I literally have all day to practice, and that's what I've been doing. I love it! When I have a totally free day, I'll play guitar in the morning, workout, play guitar after lunch, eat dinner, and play guitar in the evening. It's not often that I have a chance to practice this much, and I'm taking advantage of it while it lasts.
Most people would think it's crazy to spend most their summer holed up in their private studio, but I'm not most people.
- 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.