Home > Big Changes at TAC
The new Tony’s Acoustic Challenge is now entirely centered around helping you focus on your daily practice routine.
Many changes have recently been made to remove distractions and overwhelm from what is now “Daily Practice Supercharged by Community”.
Over the past few months you’ve noticed a more cohesive, upgraded practice format that gives more focus to improving at a smaller, but more essential batch of warm ups. Fridays now help you improve chord knowledge and chord transition speed and accuracy. Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday now fit together like a glove. Internally we refer to them as “Trios” because the three days build on each other so you work towards something rather than doing a random exercise each day.
And very recently we posted a mock-up of a proposed “Practice Journal” PDF where over 90 comments helped us develop a fairly refined downloadable practice journal that will be available to you with all future months of practice.
Please note that we all run on different operating systems. This practice journal will be brilliant for some members and completely useless to others. That’s ok. It’s meant as an optional supplement for those who learn better by writing down intentions and taking notes.
All in all, the Ultimate Practice routine is unlike anything I’ve ever found, and your feedback proves to me that it’s REALLY effective and super fun.
In a nutshell, Ultimate Practice is where 90% of TAC members get their value, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
But TAC started out as a membership that offered a new song every month and it gradually morphed into the Ultimate Daily Practice Routine. Because of this, we now have almost 50 songs and 5 courses that cover the various fundamentals of playing guitar.
To help new members and existing members see a clearer path through all of these options, we added The Wizard Badge, which entices you to complete the full 20 days of practice, learn a new song, and perform the song.
Realizing that the Wizard Badge took way more time than the majority of members had, we made a “low hanging fruit” badge that encouraged you to “take any action” knowing that a small action usually leads to more time invested.
These were fun and worked well for a lot of members, but we’ve come to believe that there’s a much better way to help members build a daily habit of guitar practice. More on that in a second.
As Levi and I stepped back and assessed TAC with fresh eyes, we realized that we needed to help our members focus and eliminate overwhelm from the “clutter of awesomeness” that has accumulated over the last few years.
Ultimately we subscribe to the “Essentialism” perspective. Less is more, clarity trumps overwhelm in every way. So in other words, we were very intentional about not getting too fancy!
So I’m ridiculously happy to present to you a list of changes that I believe will make a considerable difference in how much TAC will impact the fun you’re having and the improvement you’re seeing on guitar.
Song Lessons Are No Longer Released Every Month
We’ve created a brand new song lesson every month since before we launched TAC, so I fear that some will be disappointed. However, this decision is backed by statistics. While many of you enjoy picking a new song to learn periodically, less than 1% of TAC members begin the newest monthly song. I believe this is a testament to how much fun the daily practice is and how much it benefits you.
Going forward, new members will not have access to song lessons. They will be joining TAC 100% for the daily practice routine. They will, however, be able to purchase song packs to add to their accounts once they’ve gotten a feel for their surroundings and fully understand the work load of the daily Ultimate Practice routine.
IMPORTANT: Existing members (that’s you) will see no change. Full access will remain for all song lessons! All song lessons are accessed through TAC Academy page now.
IMPORTANTER: I will still release new song lessons, just not monthly. I’ll be using a random release schedule which should create more fun and anticipation for every one!
New Member Home Page & Simplified Navigation Menu
Play guitar with fewer clicks! We wanted to make it super simple to sign in and start that day’s practice, so we removed almost everything from your member home page. Now you’re just two clicks from the daily practice.
The only thing you might miss is the Progress Dashboard, but fear not, it’s now on the TAC Academy page.
The TAC Academy is now where you’ll find song lessons and all current and future courses. Since you don’t need the Progress Dashboard for Ultimate Practice, it made sense to put it where you’ll be using it. For example, if you start a course or multiple song lessons, you’ll be able to resume by going to TAC Academy, then scrolling down to the Progress Dashboard.
Points & Badges Now Have a Clear Purpose!
While the previous points and badges were fun for many members, it was a little empty at times because points really had no defined purpose.
Now the main purpose for the points and the badges is to help new members see a path and to pull them into TAC by using psychological triggers to help them create an automatic practice habit.
It’s also worth noting again that we all have different operating systems. Some people are repulsed by such “gamification” ideas while others absolutely love it and are happy to engage with it knowing that it ultimately helps them. Wherever you sit on this issue, know that it’s completely optional.
What about the Leaderboard and my old points and badges? I’ll get to that in a second:)
First, here’s how the new system works:
There are 6 Levels of Achievement
– Squire 50 – 250 – Newbie
– Yellow 251 – 550 – Eager Guitar Learner
– Green 551 – 1350 – Committed to Guitar Progress
– Purple 1351 – 2,050 – Solid Guitar Foundation
– Red 2,051 – 10,500 – Seasoned Jammer
– Black 10,501 – Master of Guitar Knowledge & Playing With Others
These are point based levels, but we tried to align how you get points with your level of comfort and proficiency at guitar by the time you reach each level. Most of all, each level reflects a person’s investment into TAC and therefor, themselves. Obviously it’s nowhere near an exact science, but it achieves it’s purpose.
This new achievement system is meant to help you compete with yourself, not others. It’s meant to answer the questions “how far have I come and how much further to I have to go?”
Simple ways to get points:
200 – Complete full month of practice
50 – 250 Discover a Golden Pick (two per month)
50 – Attend any live online event
50 – Submit a Wednesday solo performance
50 – Add your profile picture
50 – Leave your first comment on any lesson
First Timer Points
100 – Complete your first lesson
100 – Post your first Solo Performance
100 – 1st month of Practice Plan
Secret ways to get points:
25 – Complete a Song Lesson
75 – 125 Song Performance Submissions
100 – Any of the five free academy Courses
500 – 1st song lesson complete
500 – 1st song performance submission
5000 – Any Jamboree Event
2500 – Secret upcoming course:)
Now back to your question “what about my existing points, badges, and the Leaderboard?”
You’ll still keep your points and badges. The leaderboard link has moved to your profile menu under your name (upper right).
TAC is Closing Down
We’re easily the most excited about this one. TAC will now only open enrollment a few times per year.
When people trickle in every day, we end up with tons of people all at different stages of getting comfortable with TAC and how it all works. This makes it a lot harder to provide the best support, but most of all, each new member is all alone in their new endeavor.
We think that going through the Squire phase as a group will help new members form bonds with one another and the existing community, effectively indoctrinating them to our amazing, underground club of guitar geeks in a matter of days, not months.
Doesn’t this sound like a heck of a lot of fun?
When we open enrollment in short windows, we plan on doing a series of daily live “Welcome Party” hangouts where I can walk brand new members through their first time with the daily practice, answer common questions, and introduce them to each other and of course you!
I couldn’t be more excited to bring a more connected and personal experience to you and all new members going forward.
Thank you SO MUCH for being a member! More great things are coming!