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.
The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine
Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!
If you’d like to nominate someone to be honored with a TAC Spotlight feature, please submit your nominee here.
Say hi to Maggie!
# of Years Played
Favorite three bands
Doc Watson, Crooked Still, Simon and Garfunkle, The Beatles, The Avett Brothers, (I was not a math major)
How many guitars to you currently own?
Two – a Goya G215 and my Martin D35 Seth Avett
Tell us the story of your first open mic…
It was a process to even make it to my first open mic – originally, I had settled on a little coffee shop open mic that was down the road from my house. It had a great atmosphere (not to mention great coffee!) and I finally got up the nerve to get out there and seemingly at that exact moment, they shut the whole thing down and stopped holding open mics! So I had to do some research to find another one – I went one night with no intention of performing… just to sit and listen, get a gauge for the atmosphere, etc… and it was great… so I decided to go back the following week for my big debut 😉
Let me emphasize the fact that I was extremely nervous and walking into that building with my guitar in hand was a practice in discipline because all I wanted to do was get back in my car and go home… all sorts of thoughts went through my mind – what is a mom of 4 kids doing here, someone who has never played music for anyone but her children (and the TAC gang ;))… somebody, who practically nobody in her life (again, except my TAC buddies) even knows she plays guitar… what was I doing here at 8pm on a school night? lol.
So I walk in and immediately realize that something is off because the place is packed with high school/college aged kids and music is blaring from a (very talented) latin hip hop band on stage that had apparently been booked at the last minute and the open mic had been cancelled. It’s an understatement to say that I looked more than just a little out of place.
Before I had a chance to run away, I was spotted by the guy who usually hosts the open mic and we were both forced into an awkward conversation about how he felt so bad that I came all the way out there… anyway, long story short… it was yet another reason why I could have given up 🙂 But I didn’t! And with the encouragement of everyone here at TAC, several weeks later (after recovering from a random concussion that kept me away even longer), I ended up finally making it to the open mic and playing two songs – If I Needed You (Townes VanZandt) and Jolene (Dolly Parton) – I was very warmly received and felt so much support and encouragement from everyone there!
I know I ramble, but I wanted to emphasize the whole perseverance thing for anyone thinking about doing an open mic as well 😉
I now have been going to the same open mic just about every week for the past several months, and have also visited 2 other open mic nights at local coffee houses. It’s so nice to be a part of that community – there is a lot of collaboration going on – both informally/spontaneously, and more formally between myself and the host (the one I mentioned earlier with the awkward conversation, lol).
We are going to be doing some recording together on his new album and also on my debut album, which unbelievably, is now in the works! I also am playing my first show this weekend! So much has happened in so short a time and I owe a lot of it to the support and encouragement I have received from the TAC gang 🙂
What’s the one thing you’d tell other TAC members who don’t think they’d be good at writing songs?
You don’t have to be a musical genius or capable of impressive guitar licks to create something that people might enjoy listening to. A few simple chords and genuine emotion (with or without lyrics – same goes for instrumental pieces) is all it often takes to touch people and to have them connect in some way to what you’ve created. Of course we are all here to improve at guitar, and it certainly is awesome to be able to learn and play great guitar with the help of Tony and his crew, but I think that the real connection people have with music is emotional first. Keep it genuine 🙂
Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?
Playing guitar is something that I really enjoy and get a lot of fulfillment from… I think it’s important to strive to be the best we can be at those things we are passionate about.
Why are you an active TAC member?
Not only do I love the content and layout as far as lessons go, but I just love the community that has developed here. People are so incredibly supportive and encouraging of everyone’s efforts and it’s just a great thing to be a part of!
What convinced you to submit your first performance video?
It didn’t take long to realize that this was a safe place to allow myself to be a little vulnerable and to take a risk and share some music. I think my first video was Freight Train – I saw how others were posting videos and getting such supportive responses, so I thought I’d give it a shot as well 🙂
What else would be cool for people to know about you?
I have 4 kids, am a biologist by trade, was a swimmer and All American water polo player in college, and I used to live in a funeral home… and I used to be a zookeeper.