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 Steve H.!
Eaton Rapids, Michigan
# of Years Played
Like many TAC-ers I’ve come back to guitar after a long hiatus. I had an electric guitar in my teens which I sold in my 20’s when I realized I hadn’t played it in years.
After 20 years off in January I went to Elderly Instruments in Lansing with a friend who was buying a bass. I was hooked by the acoustic room and the enthusiasm of the people I met there. After I bought my Taylor 712ce in February 2015 I’ve been thrilled with my decision to take up playing again.
Favorite 3 Bands
Just 3? O.K.-The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Radiohead. (honorable mention- Tony Polecastro!) Most of the time I listen to classical music at work though. Lots of musical inspiration there.
How many guitars do you currently own?
Two, with a third on the way (sounding and feeling like an expectant father!).
Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?
Oscar Wilde said: Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.
I think we all enjoy the process of learning and improving. To be better than we were yesterday is spiritually fulfilling and inherently rewarding.
Aside from improvement, I think that something as visceral as guitar playing is a perfect antidote to modern life.
I spend most of the time staring at computer screens so picking up a beautiful piece of fragrant wood and steel (just smell it!), feeling its vibrations through my whole body, and having complete focus while practicing or during a song is akin to meditation.
Why are you an active TAC member?
1.) Community. I was skeptical at first as I assumed this would be like every other forum. A few hothead internet warriors flaming people from the safety of their homes. It’s nothing like that. It’s the most supportive place on the internet with genuine people trying to help each other improve.
2.) Obviously the lessons are excellent. Tony does a great job of breaking things down and Joel and Levi record them expertly.
3.) The monthly hangouts are great fun too. One of my first was Tony testing whiskey, something I never would have expected from a guitar teacher. I suspect it took him a few days to shake that session off!
What convinced you to submit your first performance video?
The lesson plan demanded it! I think the structure of the courses is excellent in that you don’t just learn to play the song for yourself, you have to show that you’ve learned it to a standard that you feel comfortable other people hearing. That really makes us try our best.
I never intended to play for anyone other than myself but this aspect of the program has encouraged me to play for family members and, maybe one day, others in a live setting too. For now, though, I’m happy posting here because the community is so supportive and I enjoy being part of the group as we share our progress.
Oh, and that little “earn bonus points” prompt brought out the competitor in me!
What else would be cool for people to know about you?
This is my favorite part of the Spotlight, getting to know my fellow TAC-ers. So I:
- emigrated three years ago and swapped living on the River Mersey in Liverpool, UK for the Grand River in Michigan, USA. (I like being by water!)
- am a big Liverpool FC fan. Seeing Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl play together at Anfield (Liverpool’s home stadium) in 2008 was the best concert ever.
- flew light aircraft from age 13 upwards,
- once rescued a woman stuck up to her waist in quicksand
- received my university degree from a real English Princess (Alexandra)
- finished third in my age group at this year’s Grand Ledge Half Marathon, and
- am lucky to be married to the wonderful and ever-patient Meg, a woman who plays a mean train whistle on Freight Train!
A quick thanks 🙂
Thank you to Tony, Joel, and Levi for hosting such a great site, and to everyone on the forum for making this such a fun place to be. Lastly, thank you to whoever nominated me. I’m honored and privileged to be in such great company at TAC and in this week’s Spotlight.