Thomas Welander

Instructor of Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Bass Guitar and Tenor Banjo

My Background: I hold a bachelor’s degree in guitar performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and a masters degree in music education from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO. Contemporary guitar styles and academic music instruction are my main focus points educationally, but I also offer private lessons in Bass Guitar, Ukulele (all sizes), Mandolin, and Tenor Banjo. 

What I love about teaching: I teach music to improve the quality of life of my students via their musical experiences that they might enjoy music, on any level, for the remainder of their lives. Not every student wants or needs the skills to be a professional musician or music teacher. Every student is different and lesson plans highlight those differences to maximize individual success. Teaching how to utilize unique, individual differences of students is what I love most! 
One way I help my students succeed and flourish: I have a “student first” philosophy that puts pupils’ needs above my own. Practice makes progress and progress is more important than perfection. Music is a process oriented activity that continually produces new goal sets with each new lesson and each new task is more challenging than the last. Those challenges are every bit as important as our larger goals, such as performances. I help students recognize that! 
Performance Experience: I started performing as a student in K-12 bands. I played trombone, bass guitar, and guitar all through school and performed in Canada as well as 18 European countries all before graduating High School. I continued performing in school ensembles through college and have always had private bands that perform publicly, going all the way back to middle school. Performance is absolutely one of the most important goals of musicianship and I am always looking for new opportunities to play publicly what I practice privately. I lead by example so my students get as excited about playing out in the community as I’ve always been! 



Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, IA 

My Musical Influences: Romantic Era pianists like Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, Modern/Post-Modern composers like Igor Stravinsky and Frank Zappa, Jazz/Blues pioneers like Duke Ellington and Willie Dixon, Country/Folk songwriters like Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie, Rock bands like Led Zeppelin or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Pop music like The Beatles or the many singing groups on Motown Records. I love electric guitar music most and am constantly surprised by how many wildly different styles of music electric guitar has created in such a short period of time, after only being invented less than a century ago! 

Favorite hobby or activity when not teaching or playing music: Home Canning, Gardening, Cooking, Hunting, Hiking/Camping, Woodworking, and Model Rocketry. Also… LEGO! 

Favorite food: Traditional recipes from my family’s multi-generational cookbooks, such as Potatiskorv or Inlagd Sill. I love a huge Smörgåsbord! Can you tell where my family’s ancestors come from?


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