The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine
Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!
The TAC Spotlight is a weekly focus on members of Tony’s Acoustic Challenge who have posted at least one performance on the forums and are especially active in the community by showing exemplary support or inspiration for other TAC members. All TAC Spotlight featured members are nominated by other TAC members.
If you’d like to nominate someone to be honored with a TAC Spotlight feature, please submit your nominee here.
Say hi to Heidi H!
Southeastern Washington State.. the DRY side 😀
# of years played
I never say I “play”, but I’ve owned and dabbled with guitars off and on (sometimes not touching a guitar for months, or even a few years at a time) since 1973. I re-started playing a few years ago, thanks to a new guitar store providing motivation and the first pangs of GAS! 😀
Favorite 3 Bands:
Wow, THAT is a TOUGH question! Let me answer this way – the groups/bands/performers that most inspired my love of acoustic music early on, included several of the era – Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Judy Collins, Simon and Garfunkel, and other folk-oriented musicians (got to hear Joan Baez play live, AND meet her in person briefly! :D) I still consider their music to be stellar. (I didn’t learn about Tommy Emmanuel until years later.. of course he’s a favorite now! :D)
Favorite “electric” bands include Los Lonely boys, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Matt Schofield (who I had the extreme pleasure of hearing LIVE from just a few rows from the stage a few years ago! :D) and many other great blues and blues-influenced artists… I enjoy a wide variety of music styles though.
How many guitars do you currently own?
Let’s see… the rosewood Baden used for my icon, the Alvarez MD 80 mahogany (dread), my Alvarez travel guitar that’s basically a downsized version of the MD 80, my mid-1980’s Yamaha classical with solid top and lam. sides/back, the inexpensive Fender CD60CE the shop owner set up for me so I could still play a bit with “hand issues”, and my most recent purchase is a Breedlove (Pursuit model) nylon string “cross-over” type guitar.. also to help deal with hand issues. (I also own a PRS SE Tremonti model electric, and a super-cheap Fender strat-style squire, but haven’t tried to play them in years.) I guess that makes 6 acoustic and 2 electric guitars (for now! :D)
Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?
The personal satisfaction of learning new things, the enrichment and self-expression music provides, how it feels to be able to do something today that I couldn’t do before, and the joy of hearing and feeling improved sounds coming from the instrument. Besides, “noodling” the same stuff over and over for years can get boring! 😀
Secondly, I’d like to gain enough skill to be able to join in with one or more other players/musicians and have some fun hanging out and “jamming”, and/or be able toplay an actual song for family/friends, senior living center or something, and have it recognizable and sound good enough to be enjoyable for them. A really wild and long-term goal would be to get good enough to play at a local open mic night.
Why are you an active TAC member?
The format of TAC lessons and features is great for busy adult lifestyle, taking care of ill family members and other real-life challenges. I like that I can “catch up” if I have to miss a day or few, on MY schedule, and still get responses to lesson questions or comments even though I’m “behind”! 😀 The way the lessons and features are presented is done in such a positive way and just plain FUN. 😀 Those are the main reasons I signed up to give TAC a try, but a big part of why I decided to commit to a full year’s membership is because of other TAC members that post comments and questions re: the lessons, plus all the interesting topics and helpful information in the forums. 😀 I’ve really enjoyed the feeling of “community” and “hanging out” with others that enjoy and appreciate acoustic guitar and music/creativity in general. I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the answers to my questions and helpful comments and kind words of encouragement I’ve received from TAC members! AND it’s great that even though I’m still fairly new to TAC, and a beginner as far as playing skills go, I can still contribute to the TAC community via lesson comment sections and the forums, be excited for other members and their accomplishments, “pay it forward” by making even newer members feel as welcomed as I was.
What convinced you to submit your first performance video?
I have several fellow TAC members to thank for helping me work up the courage to post a performance video, including the logic of it’s educational/training value to help me reach my goal of being able to play in front of others some day. I was also given considerable help and encouragement to start learning how to post on You-tube, which was totally foreign to me… and finally, Dom gave me an extra motivator (and the final courage) by asking me to post a video of what my guitar sounded like. (very clever, Dom! :D) I didn’t (and still don’t) have the skill-set to make a video of the Wed. “solo with backing tracks”, but decided I could tackle the few bars of descending chords. After learning the music, it took a few tries to get a workable video clip made, then the REALLY big challenge of figuring out all the stuff with You-Tube, then how to post it to TAC. Then another TAC member “fixed” my TAC posting so the link to video clip would actually work. Not only did TAC members help convince me to “give it a try”, and help me succeed in posting the video clip, but their friendly, supportive and encouraging comments re: my video performance efforts left me with a positive feeling. 😀 Having suffered the terror and indignities of being forced into miserable mandatory piano recitals as a child even though I couldn’t read music, the thought of having to “perform” in front of other students and Tony via the unforgiving nature of a video had me more than a little nervous, but thanks to the great folks here, I survived and don’t seem too worse for the wear! 😀
Tell us the story of your first open mic…
I have that as a “someday when I get good enough” goal. Only time I “performed” was with my brother, when we both played acoustic guitars and he sang a Christmas carol in a Christmas program for a very small group several years ago. We had a couple/few hours total to come up with a song we both could play in a key he could sing in. We only see each other once a year at most, so even getting our timing to match was a challenge. Our turn was part-way through the program, and we had to carry our guitars and walk to the stage from the audience, and deal with unfamiliar PA type microphone and some sort of “duct taped” add-on mic of some kind. My brother plays for senior centers and his church on rare occasion, but this was totally new to me, and we were both nervous. But thanks to “backing each other up”, following each other’s playing as-needed, we made it through without any major problems. I guess it didn’t sound too bad, and it was really special to do something with my brother.. the same older brother that showed me how to play a “D” chord on his guitar when I was 6 or 7 and my hands were too small to reach the 4th, 5th and 6th strings.
What’s the one thing you’d tell other TAC members who don’t think they’d be good at writing songs?
As a teenager, I attempted to write a song or two, but didn’t have the “skills” necessary. But who knows.. if I keep practicing and learning with TAC, maybe someday I will. ;D I’m so impressed by the amazing creativity and “heart” that is apparent in songs written and posted by fellow TAC members!
What else would be cool for people to know about you?
I was a firefighter/EMT for a number of years, and still miss it
I enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, bicycle riding, archery, and other outdoor activities. Started learning about fly fishing and fly-tying.. have MUCH to learn, but oh what fun! 😀
I’ve dabbled with drawing/sketching and done a few watercolor paintings, enjoy a bit of sewing, and other “crafty-type” activities
I’m a licensed “ham radio” operator, and find it exciting to talk to people in other parts of the USA and other countries, learning about those people and places by friendly conversations or a quick “hello”. I’ve enjoyed learning how to solder, and built a small two-way “ham radio” from a kit, then used it to “talk” with a friend a couple states away via “morse code”. I also dedicate my radio gear and skills to help my community and region in case of emergency, disaster, or any time communication help is needed, or any type of information or any type of help can be provided or supported via communication, such as when those of us volunteers with Skywarn weather spotter training (from National Weather service) provide real-time weather conditions and driving condition/safety reports to other “hams” and directly to the nearest office of the National Weather Service
I still own three motorcycles.. one off-road, and two highway-legal, and used to pack camping gear on a motorcycle and ride/camp with friends and/or husband. But after husband’s nearly-fatal crash and months of hospital and rehab, I ended up parking the bikes because it made husband too nervous for me to ride any more.
Dutch oven cooking/baking is another activity that I enjoy (and family/friends heartily support.. at least if they get to eat what I fix :D)
Thanks to everyone that has made my first month as part of TAC so much fun, and a great learning experience! 😀