TAC Spotlight: Malcolm S.


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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 Malcolm S.!


Derbyshire, UK

# of years played

5 years

Favorite 3 Bands:

Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, Geoff Lynne/ELO

How many guitars do you currently own?


Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

I love the sound a guitar makes when played well. I love popular music, country, ragtime and blues and get more satisfaction from playing it rather than just listening although I enjoy listening too.

Why are you an active TAC member?

I don’t really see the point of being a passive member of an organisation. I enjoy the exercises, songs and other challenges. You don’t get far in any sphere of life being a wallflower.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

Initially I didn’t take the daily exercises, concentrating on the songs. I spent ages practising Brendas Blues and the Last Steam Engine Train trying in vain to get somewhere near Tony’s speed and standard. However listening to other members performance efforts which were similar in standard to mine, encouraged me to video and upload my performance. Being able to see many other students and listen in to their performance standard is an advantage you do not get with live lessons from a guitar teacher. You would have to go to jam sessions etc.

Tell us the story of your first Open Mic?

I initially did some open mic singing but my first effort singing and playing my Tanglewood was Bob Dylan’s Times they are a’ changing. The most difficult part was learning Bob’s clever lyrics because I thought it was a bit wimpish to have a song sheet. I also had to transpose the key to suit my (more mature) voice.

What’s the one thing you would tell other TAC members who don’t think they’d be good at writing songs?

I don’t write songs but even the best composers must have written poor songs to start with. If you are the sort of person who learns by their mistake then you will improve. Just look at George Harrison’s early songs and compare them with Something, Here Comes the Sun and All things must Pass. Any musical development, composing or playing takes time.

What else would be cool for people to know about you?

When I retired from full time work as a teacher of chemistry and physics my wife encouraged me to buy a guitar. I now have three guitars and ukulele. I think that playing a musical instrument is a great way of keeping your mind active.


  1. Profile photo of DeeDee L
    DeeDee L

    Hi and congratulations on the spotlight, Malcolm. Thanks for sharing your story. Keep on keeping on.

  2. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    Hi Malcolm. Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on the Spotlight. Always good to see another Brit here too! Your comment about songwriting is dead on. Like our guitar (and ukulele!) playing, it’s practice and dedication that makes the difference, not just talent.
    Look forward to hearing more postings from you soon.

  3. Profile photo of leslie c
    leslie c

    Hello Malcolm
    Congrats on your spotlight
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts
    and views on Guitar and music

    I live near Southampton Hampshire
    It is always nice to read encouraging
    comments and you certainly encouraged
    me to continue with my journey to learn
    playing music on Guitar.
    Keep well.

  4. Profile photo of jeff s
    jeff s

    Hi Malcolm, conrats on your spotlight. I think you nailed it when you were talking about submitting your performance video. There are places on line that offer instruction but not only does TAC have clear, concise, informative instruction it has the additional benefit of being able to access the experience of all the “participating students”. In past times this was done with recitals but those would happen maybe monthly? Here we see the progress of hundreds of students (soon to be thousands) very nearly on a minute by minute basis. It is a game changer. Glad you are here Malcolm and thanks for making me a better musician. I am really glad you found the pathway to success through posting. It is easily a win/win opportunity.

  5. Profile photo of Russell S
    Russell S

    Congratulations Malcom!

    Perhaps, with your background, you can tell us the elements that make a great guitar player! 😉

  6. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    Hi Malcolm! Well deserved recognition, and thank you for all the time you served teaching those young minds of the future.

  7. Profile photo of Brett L
    Brett L

    Congrats, Malcolm!! Great to learn more about you and your path to guitar. Keep up the great work!!


  8. Profile photo of Robert G
    Robert G

    Appreciate a fellow retiree taking up guitar. My wife also encouraged me … for the last 30 years:) Nice spotlight Malcolm and thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Profile photo of Scott C
    Scott C

    Enjoyed your spotlight. Happy to see the ELO theme in your favorite bands.

  10. Profile photo of nowhere man
    nowhere man

    I like what you are doing with your retirement. Agree that music is a great thing to focus on and guitars should be part of that.

  11. Profile photo of Mike K
    Mike K

    Malcolm, interesting read, we have similar paths, enjoyed your story.

  12. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Hi Malcolm, congratulations on getting the spotlight this week. It’s great to know you a little bit better. I agree wholeheartedly about your comment on keeping our minds active by playing musical instruments.

  13. Profile photo of Heidi H
    Heidi H

    Hey Malcolm! 😀 It’s neat that you’ve enjoyed the Traveling Wilburys! 😀 I thought they were totally cool, to bring such amazing musicians together, and while they were all “stars” on their own, to make something even more magical as a group! 😀 It gives support to the theory that no matter how good or smart someone is, there are still more options to explore, more interesting things to learn! 😀

    Nice to see the UK represented by folks like you! 😀 And BEAUTIFUL GUITAR, by the way! 😀

  14. Profile photo of Duane W
    Duane W

    Malcolm, Congratulation of your Spotlight selection. Interesting to read your story. I’m glad you’re a participating member and agree with your reason for being an active member. Well said! I also find it interesting to see how many guitarist also own Ukuleles.

  15. Profile photo of Tony

    Congratulations on your spotlight Malcolm. It’s always fun to learn a little more about our friends here at TAC. Hope you enjoy your time at TAC, learning and improving along with the rest of us. Enjoy your week!

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