COVID  Update:  

Most of our teachers have already begun their vaccinations and are starting the process of returning to live lessons. Most should have completed their vaccinations by March. We’ll continue to observe best COVID practices even after vaccination, until such a time as it makes sense to go back to normal. We will also continue to offer the option of online lessons for the foreseeable future. 

Summer Camps 2021  

We’re expecting fully vaccinated, in-person Summer Camps this year! We’re still putting together our calendar for Summer Camps this year, but will have everything ready soon. In the meantime you can follow this link to see what’s available so far. 

Sign Up For Summer Camps

in-person music lessons

in Portland & online

Try Everything  *  Guitar  *  Piano  *  Drums  *  Bands  *  Voice  *  Violin  *  Trumpet Trombone *  Songwriting  *  And more

Lessons and classes available for Ages 4+ , 6+. Teen and Adult. 

Schedule Your Free Trial Lesson Today

Or call/text  (503)290-5090


What People Say About Us

  • Todd says:

    Absolutely a huge success tonight. Thank you so much for talking with her encouraging her and inviting her to the rock band. Everyone had such a good time. At the end another band member told her she can't wait to see her next week this was a huge boost of confidence.  We actually haven't seen her this happy and interested in anything in many years.  

    Over the last 6 years we had music lessons at other places and she kept getting frustrated and then quitting.  We are so happy to find you guys! 

  • William Van Winkle says...

    My boy started taking lessons from John when he was six and continues to grow and improve under John's instruction. Aside from being talented, John is immensely personable, relaxed, and intuitive. He has a gift for working with children. Every time I would get stressed out about my kid spacing off or whatever, John would calmly redirect him and get him back on track. John's instruction style quickly adapts to the student's needs. He blends hands-on practice, jam time, video examples, and more.  Most of all, he's fun and is always careful to keep fun at the center of everything. I can't recommend him enough.

  • Bill P. says... (Yelp)

    I wanted to introduce my son to drums and searched around and gave John and Backbeat a try.  So glad I did.  He's been super patient and engaging with him.  We've been going with him for over a year and can't think of anyone better.

  • Dan Thompson says...

    John’s drumming classes are not only well taught, personal, but so much fun that I never think of them as lessons. I have felt such a wonderful sense of achievement after each and every class he has taught. From the first lesson of learning the history and what each and every piece of the kit is and does, John has taught me a way to approach learning new things differently. He has not only implemented the mechanics or physics of drumming, but the “feeling” of drumming. I have left every lesson, looking forward to the next one. Proper technique and most importantly, posture, has been stressed by John, which has led to a much more enjoyable experience on the drum kit for me. I highly recommend his class to both young and old codgers, such as myself.

    Schedule Your Free Trial Lesson Today

  • Paul Boson says...

    Daniel is a wonderful highly skilled instructor. His exercises, patience and demeanor, make it easy for students at any level learn new skills and bring their playing to the next level. It has been an absolute pleasure working with him.

    Schedule Your Free Trial Lesson Today

  • Anastasia Shulevitz says...

    To begin, John Lamb always has a smile on his face.  It is great to see someone so responsible and professional fully engage with his students. He is able to communicate with them on their level and elevate their understanding daily and also communicate with parents in a clear, informative way while still using the language of music.  My son's interest in drumming only grew and grew under John's care.  He was drumming on everything!  And I realized the movements were more complex from time to time and I could revel in the beauty and form of the rhythm.  I asked my son's third-grade teacher if the drumming was ever a distraction to the more academic structure of his classroom and if his drumming ever took away from his school work.  To my surprise, she said absolutely not, that Isaac consistently focused brilliantly on his work and the drumming was just a natural part of it - his schoolwork was done on time, done to specific high standards, and done with peace and joy, drumming all the while.  I can honestly say that thanks to John, my son is already a musician and will, I am sure, be a lifelong music lover and supporter of the arts.  I feel lucky that we were introduced to John and I can't wait for more lessons this summer and into the new year.
  • Jason B. Says (Yelp)

    I started going to Backbeat Music Academy for drum lessons with John. He is a great instructor, highly skilled, very knowledgeable. I take 60-minute lessons once a week, in a very relaxed environment. My instructor answers all my questions, we jam together or play along to music, and plan out a practice plan for the week. He has even been willing to help me with other instruments, answering all my questions about guitar, piano, music theory, etc. I'll continue taking music lessons at Backbeat for a long time.

  • Nathanial A. says... (Yelp)

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Or call/text  (503)290-5090


Come In and

Rock Out With Us

Guitar + Ukulele Lessons

Learn to rock out with an electric guitar, acoustic guitar ukulele and/or bass in private guitar lessons with one of our pro teachers or ask about our group guitar lessons or about joining one of our bands – no experience necessary, we’ll match your skill level with others so even if you’re just starting out, you can start playing in a band pretty much right away. 

Piano Lessons

Backbeat Music Academy offers piano lessons and classes for all ages. For total beginners, we recommend our group classes where students learn the basics in a fun, social environment with kids their own age and skill level.

Drum Lessons

The drums are the heartbeat of the band. At Backbeat Music Academy, you can learn to play the drums from our nationally recognized teachers. Develop the skills to play in a band, learn songs, and put your own personal stamp of the music you play. Take private lessons or group classes where you learn with other drummers like you. Join a band and put your skills to work jamming with others. 

Trumpet + Trombone Lessons

Backbeat also offers trumpet lessons and trombone lessons. If you’re in a school band, you can work on the skills you’ll need to succeed in class, and also work on skills to play non-concert band music. Also ask about playing in one of our rock bands! 

Voice Lessons

Learn to sing your heart out and to be comfortable with your own sound with voice lessons at Backbeat Music Academy. You can also take group classes to sing and join one of our groups to sing with the band!

Rock Band Classes

Playing in bands is a centerpiece of Backbeat Music Academy. It is the primary way that students can network with other kids and get used to how their instrument works in a band setting. The bands are generally Rock and Pop, but are structured to follow the student’s interests and abilities. We also match students according to age and experience level as well. 

We also have bands for total beginners, and custom classes are also available. 

Violin + Strings Classes

Because it so closely sounds like the human voice, the violin is still one of the most popular instruments in world. We offer awesome violin, viola, cello and double bass lessons. 

Computer Game Music Composition

In order to write music for computer games, students need to learn how music affects us and how they can create those effects themselves – in other words, they learn music theory and composition skills. These skills will apply directly to music performance, music appreciation and of course music composition of any sort. 

Try Everything Bands! 

Ever wanted to try playing everything? Or maybe you just don’t know what instrument you like the best. Either way, this class is for you. Students get a chance to play drums, guitar, bass, ukulele, sing with a microphone, play piano and more. Students just starting their musical journeys are welcome, as are those who have extensive experience on one instrument who’d like to expand their horizons. 

What We Do And Why

Here at Backbeat Music Academy, we believe that a lack of musical talent isn’t the problem.  The same parts of your brain that enjoy music are the ones that make it, so if you have the drive to play music, then you have the talent for it. Instead, the number one problem is not knowing where to start or how to approach it. 

Our teaching method, developed decades of experience and education by John Lamb, helps students navigate confusion and intimidation while providing a framework so the student can craft the right balance of structure and freedom to suit their own learning styles. 

The result is that each student discovers what music means to them while developing the skills to master it (or anything else). They learn fast, explore options and end up making the music they want, on their terms. Best of all, this approach bleeds over into other areas, including athletics, schoolwork and anything else they want to master. 

Our Students Will: 

  • Have Fun. Great learners make great musicians, and you can’t be a great learner without enjoying what you do. 
  • Learn Fast. Beethoven once said “Playing piano is easy! You just have to know where to put your fingers.” As complex as music is, as long as you know what to do it is easy. The trick is how to parse the directions so you can figure them out. Our method helps students navigate their instrument so they know what to do. This allows them to target their effort to learn fast.

    Another one of the founding principles of Backbeat Music Academy is that people do what they think will work. When you understand how things work, then the choices you make will yield the expected results. If you misunderstand the rules, then your choices yield unexpected effects. Therefore, in order to get better results, the best thing you can do is to approach your instrument with a “figuring out mind.” Our students aren’t given a set amount of homework: they are given challenges to work on. This empowers each student to take control over their own learning process, improving self-confidence because they see the result of their own choices. It also demystifies what it takes to learn music or anything else. The end result is a confident student who is able to figure out how to best use their time to improve.

  • Make the Music They Want to Make. Music isn’t about the notes you play. It isn’t about being the best who ever lived at your instrument. It isn’t to pass a test, or play something that is good enough for someone else. The point is to have fun and be yourself.

    Besides, a student that practices 10 hours a day because they feel like they should won’t get as good as someone who practices 2 hours because they love it. When a student is given the freedom to choose their own musical path, motivation isn’t a problem.

    Our students are given the freedom to choose their own musical path, but also the room and guidance to explore styles and genres they may not know about. You can’t know what you like unless you’ve given it a fair shake, after all. 

  • Learn to handle feelings of intimidation and confusion. Music is complex and intimidating. Most everyone has a secret or not-so-secret fear of not actually being able to do it. At Backbeat Music Academy, we teach students to not only feel free to make mistakes but to understand how making mistakes in an integral part of learning – how you can leverage mistakes t0 learn faster. This crosses over to everything outside of the music room as well. 
  • Connect with others. Music is fundamentally a shared experience. At Backbeat Music Academy, we make it easy for all students to be in bands where they can play with other musicians. Understanding how to tune in to others – what to pay attention to, how to let the “should” voices go – is among the most satisfying experiences in all of music. 
  • Learn great posture. John Lamb, the founder of Backbeat Music Academy, is the author of several books including the bestselling Anatomy of Drumming and Anatomy of Guitar Playing. He brings the Alexander-Technique-inspired method of learning to move well into all of the classes so students learn not just that they are supposed to sit up straight but also why it matters and how it is supposed to feel. Great posture matters in all aspects of life, but directly music-making in how it affects self-esteem and how it affects ease of movement. After all, musicians are athletes and to play their best they have to move well.

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Contact Us!

Fill out this form and we’ll get back to you. Or just call us now @ 503.290.5090