TAC Spotlight: Michael D.

Michael D.


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 Michael D.!


A small town about 30 minutes south east of Buffalo, NY

# of years played

I’ve had a guitar for many, many years, but I have only really tried to play for the past three years. It seems to be similar theme for many of the TAC participants.

Favorite 3 Bands:

My favorite three  bands depends on the day J If I had to name three  I will go with the Tragically Hip, Tommy Emanuel, who always makes me smile), and The Allman Brothers, One of my favorite bluegrass players, Chis Thele, or Brian Sutton…

How many guitars do you currently own?

I currently own three guitars. My first guitar which is a Fender F-210 dreadnought, which is about 35 years old…and yes, I bought it new), an Ibanez AF 75T, and my favorite a Guid F20R which is an OM sized acoustic.

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

I have always loved the idea of playing, and I thought it was about time to do something about it.

Why are you an active TAC member?

Well, I first joined because I thought Tony’s playing was fantastic, and rightly so; however, I stayed because the daily lessons and the song lessons are really well structured. The amazing support from the community also helps me stay motivated.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

The support of the community, particularly folks like Dom, Mark Young, Maggie, and Jeff and many, many others made it pretty easy.

Tell us the story of your first Open Mic?

I have yet to play an open mic, but I am planning on doing so this summer. I think it should be fun, and I’ll let my fellow TACers know how it goes

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

Just sit down and write. I can’t think about whether or not the song is good while I write it, I just try to write. I know that is not much on advice, but it is my process…also, always have a pencil and paper handy, one never knows when lyrics will hit

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

I am a poet, I teach English at a small boarding school for students with dyslexia and other learning differences, and I have a wonderfully supportive wife, two amazing kids (My daughter is 15 and my son 13), and an 8 year old Siberian Husky named Ming.


  1. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    Michael D, I am sorry I am so late to comment. I also grew up in Western New York, 30 minutes South of Buffalo in Springville. Glad to see you receive your TAC 15 minutes of fame. This is such a cool idea they do for TAC members. I enjoyed reading your story.

  2. Profile photo of David P
    David P

    Congrats on the spotlight Michael, and thanks for sharing with us. What inspirational work!

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Thanks, David. I love my job about 90% of the time. The other 10% I am in meetings 🙂

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Thanks, lowrider. When we first got her, she was Ming the Merciless, Destroyer of couches. She has mellowed with age. She is a pretty sweet dog 🙂

  3. Jason Robert Taack

    Congratulations on the spotlight!

  4. Profile photo of Bradley A
    Bradley A

    Michael, glad to see you featured here, and glad you are still an active member. The reasons you list for being a member resonate with me. Your “Will the Circle” video shows how this past year of TAC has really paid off. Keep on picking!

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Bradley, thanks for taking the time to comment. I always enjoy your posts and performances. I have noticed that many of the spotlight stories have similar themes about why we joined.

  5. Profile photo of jeff s
    jeff s

    Michael D you rock. I think education is the highest calling. Somehow I am not surprised you answered the call. Great spotlight congratulations. You will have to make your way over to do open mic with Maggie, Dom, Carol. I look forward to that video for sure.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Jeff, I truly love the work with the kids. No day is ever the same, and virtually every day they astonish me with their thoughtfulness, and insight. It is pretty humbling and makes me feel very blessed.

      Having folks like you, Dom, Mark… and on and on… makes this a great place to learn and grow as a player.

      Thanks for the kind words. When I get the open mic under my belt, I will certainly post it 🙂

  6. Profile photo of Robert G
    Robert G

    Michael, What a nice view into your life. Thought for sure there’d be some mention of guitar motivation from the storied history of snow in and around Buffalo:) Good to hear so many varied backgrounds from TACers that come together for a common interest of enjoying guitar and how to improve. Can’t imagine how rewarding your work would be with your students. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Robert, in the winter I play rec hockey and I coach Junior Varsity B-ball; however, spring, summer, and autumn strumming on the porch is pretty cool!

  7. Profile photo of DSnow

    Enjoyed your spotlight!

    As a new member I am here for many of the same reasons as you.

    Thanks for your support of the community.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      No worries about the support DSnow. That is pretty much the community. I am happy you are here with us, and I can’t wait to see your progress.

  8. Profile photo of Roger L
    Roger L

    Hi Michael. nice to read a bit about you. My niece has dyslexia. She’s an adult with children now but her schooling had its emotional ups and downs. It took awhile to diagnose cause she was so good at memorizing. Keep on strumming.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Roger, Although it occurs as frequently, it much less likely for girls to be diagnosed with dyslexia. I think that is beginning to change, but it is still under-diagnosed. I love working with this group of students, and it brings me great joy to help them manage their dyslexia while finding academic success. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my story 🙂

  9. Profile photo of Gary L
    Gary L

    Congrats on being featured Michael. Enjoyed reading your story. I really enjoy these features to learn more about what motivates people.

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Gary, thanks for reading my story. This guitar journey continues to be much fun because of the TAC crew and community.

  10. Profile photo of Tony

    Congratulations on your spotlight Michael – it’s nice to learn a little more about you from your bio. Enjoy your week!

    1. Profile photo of Michael D
      Michael D

      Tony, thanks for stopping by and reading my story. I have enjoyed this TAC experience and Tony, Levi, and Joel along with the TAC community make this a pretty cool place to hang out and learn.

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