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!
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Say hi to Mark Young!
Naperville, IL (suburb of Chicago)
# of Years Played
30, but the last couple outweigh all the others by a lot.
Favorite three bands
Stevie Ray Vaughn
How many guitars to you currently own?
3, all acoustic. 2 that I play regularly, one that is my old starter guitar.
Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?
My first musical love is singing, and guitar is my accompaniment. Well, it started that way, but as I’ve learned more guitar, I’ve learned how I can play more interesting rhythm parts, and lately I’m loving the improv / soloing we’re learning on TAC, and wanting to find uses for that too! Guess I’d say that I feel very confident in my ability to express myself musically singing, and I want to get more of that same ability with the guitar. That and I have many guitar playing friends both on TAC, and at the Old Town School where I take classes. I want to keep growing and playing with my friends!
Why are you an active TAC member?
There are lots of reasons, but I’ll just give my top 3:
1) Of the lessons and activities, I am most crazy about improv or solo wednesdays, which have opened up a new world for me.
2) I love being part of the community on the forums! I love sharing my music, and listening to other members’ music. I love the conversations we have. I love seeing my friends grow musically. The encouragement I get here keeps me going when I feel self doubt, and I’ve gotten some tips and feedback that have helped me.
3) The spirit of the TAC community is a wonderful, dynamic thing. I remember when there were just a few members who got up the courage to post in the RAW channel, or were posting Open Mics and Stage performances, and I enjoyed becoming part of that group. And then more people joined in, some long time members just getting past the first-post obstacle; others new members. All along it has stayed a welcoming, nurturing, fun environment, and it seems like in no time, new contributors become regulars, encouraging newcomers. I see this happen over and over. The group changes as it grows, but the spirit remains the same. Maybe it’s like a river: as it flows, other streams and rivers join it, and they bring fresh water from nearby valleys to the growing river; but it’s the same river in some very profound ways. What could be better than being part of that? Well, maybe us all getting together in Bozeman next summer, near lots of flowing rivers.
What convinced you to submit your first performance video?
It took me quite a while… First there were great examples of other people (who I am big fans of!) submitting their performances, and I could see them having fun, and getting encouragement. And then I guess I convinced myself, because I made it a goal to get over my shyness. I went about it very methodically. I recorded myself just practicing. I sent those videos to my wife for “accountability”, and made myself watch them. And after a long time I finally did post my first video to the forum. It was very nerve-wracking. And then everyone on the forum was wonderful and encouraging, and that helped me keep posting. So if you’re reading this, and thinking you might submit your first video some day, I say, figure out how to get yourself there. If you want suggestions from one of the most stage-shy people in the world, ask me!
What else would be cool for people to know about you?
I still post videos partly to keep working on my shyness and stage fright. I try to post something every week for exactly that reason. I shared my videos with my friends from my group classes too, and my musical siblings; I figure, why wouldn’t they want to know about that part of my life?
If you have read my posts, you probably know that I have gone from being someone who only plays alone in their house, to someone who seeks out opportunities to play with other people. This year I’ve taken several group classes, I went to a guitar camp for a week, and I tagged along with my brother when he went to a mandolin camp, just to hang out and play with people in the evenings, and I am starting a song circle. For someone who loves singing harmony, all these experiences have been great, and I have learned lots about playing guitar too! Singing and playing music with other people is indescribably wonderful.
And finally, because I love playing music (can you tell?), I surprise myself in what obstacles I can overcome in my journey. My wife tells me she’s amazed at how I’ve been able to get beyond things that are hard for me to do. So I try to use this inspiration and energy to help me conquer obstacles in my non-musical life, and I’m finding that it’s making me a different person in ways that I like very much.