Nancy Beckman encountered shakuhachi as an exchange student at Waseda University in Tokyo in 1971. That year she studied with ethnomusicologist Koizumi Fumio and met Ralph Samuelson. From 1972-1976 she studied Myoan-Ryu shakuhachi honkyoku through Meianji temple in Kyoto. Fukumoto Kyoan and Yoshimura Fuan, the 39th and 40th heads of that school, were her teachers. She received the name Fukushin and the license (menkyo kaiden) to teach shakuhachi from Meianji. She studied various types of shakuhachi and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University from 1976-1978, earning her BA in East Asian Studies in 1978. In the 1980's she used her knowledge of Japanese language and photography in site-specific performance art pieces, receiving an MA in InterArts from San Francisco State University in 1987. She has continued her studies of shakuhachi both in Japan and in the US.|
She lives in Sebastopol, California (in the San Francisco Bay area) where she teaches Myoan-ryu honkyoku as a spiritual practice. She plays shakuhachi and lyre for hospice as a Certified Music Practitioner from the Music for Healing and Transition Program. As a member of the ensembles Sisters of the Sound Continuum, Gusty Winds May Exist, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, and Dream Down Duvet, she improvises and plays experimental music and composes improvisational sound meditations. Her compositional work combines her love of the unexpected, healing rituals, and light-hearted social activism in site-specific events. She finds inspiration in her study of Deep Listening with composer Pauline Oliveros and of the indigenous wisdom of the Four-Fold Way with anthropologist Angeles Arrien. Nancy Beckman can be heard on CD's on the Metatron Press label and in privately issued recordings by the Sisters of the Sound Continuum.