EXCELLENCE IN GUITAR, UKELELE AND SONGWRITING INSTRUCTION
Thad Beckman offered lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced guitarists and beginning and intermediate ukulele players. Specialties were fingerpicking and flat-picking blues (acoustic and electric), folk (traditional and contemporary), traditional country and slide guitar. He also worked with songwriters looking for help in all aspects of songwriting from chord structure, lyrics, melodies and guitar hooks to studio recording. In his 35-year career Thad Beckman performed on the David Letterman Show, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble and festivals, theaters and clubs all across The USA, Canada and Europe. He has played guitar for Bo Diddley, Earl Thomas and Tom Russell to name a few.
He has shared the stage with B.B. King, Emmy Lou Harris, Los Lobos, The Band, Jesse Winchester, Dave Alvin and many others. He has eight critically acclaimed studio albums to his credit and has lent his talents to countless other CD/album projects, most recently Tom Russell’s Grammy nominated album The Rose of Roscrae released in 2015.
He has taught workshops throughout the USA, Canada and Europe.
He started his teaching career in 1977 and worked one on one with hundreds of guitarists from beginners to experienced professionals. He designed his lessons around each student’s personal goals.
"If you want to get better, I mean really better, take lessons from Thad. For six years Thad has tutored me in fingerpicking and songwriting, leading to a more professional approach that's greatly improved my public performances. He's seen it all--a long recording career, constant touring both nationally and internationally--and has brought his many insights and experiences to each lesson. If you want to step it up, Thad's your man."
Emerson House Band
"Thad Beckman is a true gift to the music world. Not only as an excellent musician, but as a superb teacher. I began taking classes with Thad when I was eight years old, we would meet every Tuesday from then on until I graduated high school. His patience and kindness with such a young student created the musician that I am today. Taking lessons not only became about learning an instrument but understanding that through music true connections are made. Thad in many instances became a teacher, mentor, therapist, and most importantly friend. To have the opportunity to work with such an artist has profoundly shaped who I am as a musician. Thad Beckman is a true blessing to the musical community."
Katelynn Ion, College Student
"Thad's teaching is not only helpful, it's inspiring. My technique and knowledge has been steadily improving, however I am most proud of my new abilities to play with meaning and conviction, that I now know is essential to recreating the amazing sound of so many musicians."
Karl Van Hoomissen, high school student
Thad's been my teacher since 2011, first for guitar instruction with his own well-crafted teaching materials, and now guiding me with my own original songs. Thad's teaching is clear and precise - no wasted time and providing invaluable practice techniques. An accomplished songwriter, Thad knows exactly how to help me improve my originals with his insights and encouragement. His experience gives him an ear for the details that polish a song, showing me how to fine tune word choice, structure, melody, and giving me strategies toward performance. He "gets" when I'm struggling with a song and helps me solve it, but also lets me know when I'm successful - I always leave lessons feeling confident.
Stephanie Van Horn, retired college professor.
A certified late bloomer, I took up guitar at age 38 unencumbered by any native talent in guitar or anything else musical. Now about to hit age 51, I have been taking lessons from Thad 13 years. It has proved, shy of my family, to be one of my life's most satisfying pursuits. You get what you put into it (no teacher can conquer lazy) but through it all Thad has been my mentor, inspiration and cheerleader. I now sing and am a passible player. Occasionally I even get such such high praise as "you sound like Thad"! My only complaint comes when I see him play and think "damn, I'm still not even close"
Occupation: General Surgeon, Chainsaw artist, boat builder, marathon runner and cook
Thad is a guitarist's guitarist and an inspired and inspiring teacher. As a long-time student, I feel privileged to learn from such a talented singer/songwriter/instrumentalist/gentleman. Thad is truly a master educator.
Doug McCarty, retired college professor
“I’ve been taking lessons from Thad for over 10 years and highly recommend him to both beginning and accomplished players. He is an amazing musician with an easy comfortable teaching style and will work patiently with you to reach your individual goals. Thad constantly works to be the best guitarist he can be and openly shares the practice methods and techniques he personally uses to polish and refine his skills…it feels like we’re on the same path together. Most importantly, Thad has a unique ability to point out and work with students on little things that make a huge difference in the way we sound and play. If you follow Thad’s guidance and recommendations you can’t help but become a better player!”
I am a training consultant for a local utility. I've taken lessons from Thad for about 10 years. Besides being a fantastic musician, Thad is a patient, thoughtful teacher who meets me where I am as I learn to play the guitar. He pushes me to improve, but also understands when life pushes my practice time to the back burner. His instruction is practical and targeted. He incorporates best practices for adult learning, and the best practice methods. I would recommend him as a teacher whatever your skill level - beginner to advanced.
Mark Lewis – PGE
I returned to guitar lessons with Thad after a 30-year hiatus and very little time on the guitar, wanting to move beyond basic chords to fingerpicking. I'm so happy with what I've learned and have really enjoyed the process. As an instructor, Thad offers a comfortable, patient and expert presence, regardless of your age or proficiency. His instruction is flexible and geared to the skill level and interests of each student, and while it's up to you to decide how hard you're willing to work, Thad's encouragement and pleasure in guitar mastery are inspiring and make the learning fun. I've particularly appreciated that he teaches practice techniques that really work so that practice actually leads to improvement rather than repetition of the same mistakes and problems. Some people who "teach" are about showing you what they can do; Thad is about helping you learn and improve what you want to do.
Leigh Coffey – retired social worker
"I grew up playing violin and was raised in a musical home. However, I chose to switch to the guitar in high school because I enjoyed folk and rock music more than the classical training I had received with the violin. My first few years I learned mostly simple tunes by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and other folk artists. During college I didn't take lessons but continued to build my repertoire, ranging from reggae to classic rock to contemporary alternative. My practice didn't have much structure but I stayed inspired by songs I wanted to learn to play and sing.
Since moving to Portland and beginning graduate school, I have had the privilege of working with Thad Beckman, whose music I have listened to and enjoyed for years. Since beginning a few months ago we have worked on fingerpicking and blues songs and it has been great to see my skills improve steadily. I look forward to continuing to work with Thad, whose teaching is methodical and fun, and inspires me to practice as much as possible."
Alex Nagel, Graduate Student, Portland State University.