Go Guitar Lessons would like to take this opportunity on behalf of instructor Patrick Webb to pay tribute to Sault Ste Marie guitar teacher and musician Terry Becker. We have only recently learned of Terry’s passing in 2017. Patrick would like to say a few words.
“Terry was a great guy. He was the second guitar teacher I had but the first one I wanted to have. Before my old music school – Thomas Walls’ School of Music – had its stand-alone location and was still located in the local mall, I regularly heard him and his students playing awesome distorted rock guitar whenever I passed by the store. I remember always wanting to be able to be cool like the students I heard playing.
I had already been taking lessons for two years from a different teacher when I switched to Terry, and he flipped everything around. I went from learning straight from Hal Leonard Guitar Method 1 to learning rock music using “The Terry Becker Method”, including power chords, pentatonics, blues scales, and improv jam sessions. His methods helped the music I wanted to play – hard rock and metal – become accessible to me. Terry’s teaching also had a competitive edge – he timed how fast his students could run scales up the neck and posted their times on the door to his teaching room. It took a few years, but eventually I broke all the pentatonic and blues records and he stopped bothering timing me. He ended up teaching me for four years, and today I use those same methods with my own guitar students.
Terry’s influence in my life expanded beyond just the lessons he gave. He advocated for me to join my music school’s Elementary School Presentation Group, giving me my high school curriculum mandated community service hours and my first teaching experience. At just sixteen years old I was on stage showcasing electric guitar and jamming with the school’s adult teachers… who were far, far out of my league.
Terry also insisted that I join the music school’s senior band along with fellow students Nick, Ben, and Joey. We enjoyed playing together so much that we formed our own Hard Rock band outside of the school, named Infrastrate. We all eventually moved to Ottawa together for school and for three years lived in what we dubbed the “Infrahouse”, which was a destination party spot for Sault Ste Marie college and university students living in Ottawa. Infrastrate played our first “big city” show at Zaphods within two months of moving to Ottawa, even before my nineteenth birthday. Throughout our two year run in Ottawa we also played venues like Mavericks and the Live Lounge, and gained some radio airplay when we were in the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot. We eventually disbanded, but to this day, myself, Nick, Ben, and Joey remain best friends, and I’m proud to call Nick and Ben and their families my own extended family. I don’t know if any of that would have happened if not for Terry.
For the past three years I’ve been a professional guitar and music teacher through Go Guitar Lessons, and every day when I go to work I use the same methods that Terry taught to me. At current I have 21 students, many of whom I have been teaching for years, helping to mold them into the next generation of guitarists… With the help of what Terry Becker taught me, and with the help he gave in making me a musician.
I wouldn’t be the man I am today without you, Terry. Thank you for everything you did for me. I hope I’m making you proud.
– Patrick Webb”
Courtesy of his daughter Kyla, here is a video of her and Terry singing a song together.
We thank you for your contributions to music, Terry. Rest in peace.
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