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 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Practice Room

Back when I was in college, I spent many hours in practice rooms. A typical practice room was basically a jail cell with a wobbly stand, an uncomfortable chair, and a battered piano. The rooms in which I practiced were either a) not soundproofed, enabling you to share your practice session with the rest of the hall, or b) soundproofed so heavily that the sound of my trombone died immediately. (I was a trombonist before I was a guitarist.)

For most of us, particularly those of us who played loud instruments, the practice room was the only place to practice. Sitting in a practice room for a multi-hour session, I would sometimes dream of the future, when I would be able to practice at home.

Be careful what you wish for. I can practice at home now, but there are also many distractions at home, especially the computer. If I practice in front of – or even near – my laptop, I find it difficult to resist the urge to check email, look at Facebook just for a "little while," or visit YouTube to watch "just one" video.

There is something magical about a tiny practice room. When you sit down to practice in one of those cubicles, it's just you and the music. There is nothing else. You forget about your cell-like surroundings and focus only on improving your musical skills. My greatest period of musical growth took place when I was spending hours in college practice rooms.

To replicate the practice room atmosphere, (minus the trombone player blasting The Ride of the Valkyries a few doors down), I just set up a room in my apartment as a practice area. Until recently, I practiced near the computer and my phone. No more! I've carved out a small space where it's just me and the music once again. I have my own college practice room with a few upgrades, such as windows and air conditioning. No computers or mobile phones are allowed. I've already noticed a difference in the quality and duration of my concentration.

I like my new practice room, and I'm looking forward to more quality practice sessions in the future.

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