Hello, I am Brian John Becker. I was born in Arizona in 1978. I grew up in the desert outskirts of Phoenix with my Mom, Dad, older brother Jason and younger brother Colin (who came along six years after me), not to mention the Golden Retrievers, cats, aquarium fish, pet turtle, goats, sheep, pony and coop full of chickens. Growing up there in the land of beautiful fire red sunset skies and monsoon dust storms followed by royal lightning shows, it’s a big part of who I am.
One of my favorite childhood memories is when I was five or six years old, running around the backyard chased by ten or twelve fat little Golden Retriever puppies, falling to the ground and having them climb all over me. Summer break afternoons were spent in the swimming pool with my brothers, jumping on the trampoline or riding my bike and were punctuated by trips into town to go to the store with my mom as we sang along to oldies on the radio of the old Chevy van.
I had a great public education in Arizona. While I was in elementary school, personal computers still weren’t part of everyday life. I can remember being taught how to use the card catalogue system at the library and then I remember when they hauled that out and replaced it with a green-screen computer. I was excited about that. I’ve always had an interest in technology. I educated myself about sound systems at the little church where I grew up. I took TV Production courses in High School and have done video projects ever since. I enjoy computers and gadgets, but I rarely like to buy them new when they are too expensive. When it comes down to it, technology is nice but a cup of tea and a newspaper is better.
I can remember when I was very young, maybe five years old my family went to Minnesota to visit my father’s side of the family. While we were there I saw my Great-Grandmother Ellen Becker. I’ve been shown photos of other great-grandparents holding me as a baby, but this is the only encounter with a great that I can remember. She was 97 at the time and she was blind but still quite agile. She sat at her organ and played hymns from memory. My parents keenly noticed that I was transfixed standing there next to the organ as she played.
Now Christmas was the highpoint of my life growing up… I counted the months all year as many kids do. Some years the presents would appear on Christmas morning and other years they’d appear in the weeks before the big day. The year after that trip to Minnesota there was an abnormally large package under the tree with my name on it. It sat there for a few weeks and drove me CRAZY. It turned out to be a yamaha keyboard. I started taking group lessons at the yamaha music school with my best friend Nic. I took lessons from about age six to fourteen or so. Music is an important part of my life. I was a self-employed piano teacher through high school and I loved it. I have played music in church since I was about 12 and that has been a blessing. One of my favorite things in the world is to play in a band and to anticipate the musical movements of the group. It’s a unique form of communication that I tremendously enjoy. I also played the trombone in school. I love playing the trombone because it is such a different musical experience compared to the piano and because it is the king of all instruments.
I began playing the piano in church at around twelve. Our pastor played the guitar and he taught me how to accompany him. I’ve been playing music in church ever since. I was self-employed through high school teaching piano lessons to little tykes around the neighborhood. I bought an old 1978 Mercedes Benz sedan from my uncle and trucked around the desert with my metronome, music books and stacks of little shiny star stickers. Not too long ago I heard that one of my best students is now teaching lessons to tykes himself. That makes me feel pretty good.
When I was getting ready to graduate from High School I was confounded by the sheer number of colleges to choose from…