Come out of Your Shell with Jaden Chavez

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

Jaden Chavez is 16-years old and he's the first Gen Z guest on the podcast. For Jaden, the handpan is more than just a new hobby. It's helped him to come out of his shell and it's changed the trajectory of his life. A reinvigorating conversation about art, passion and life.

Bonus Content: Handpan Jam with Jaden Chavez:

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Podcast Transcription:

Sylvain: Hey, it's Sylvain and this is the handpan podcast.

Sylvain: On the podcast, we tell the transformation stories of people, like you and me, whose lives have intersected with this instrument called the handpan. The transformation is often more than just finding a new hobby. For some, it's discovering they can be creative for the very first time. For others it's belonging to a community of like-minded people. And for yet others it's finding their purpose and pursuing their life's work. It's pretty cool to watch. Today's guest on the podcast is my new friend Jaden Chavez. The handpan also changed the trajectory of his life, at a very strategic time I should say. His is a powerful story of finding the things that light you up and to pursue them passionately. Here's my conversation with Jaden Chavez.

Sylvain: Okay, so here we are.

Jaden: Yeah.

Sylvain: Jaden, it's good to have you.

Jaden: Thank you. It's good to be here.

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: It's truly a pleasure.

Sylvain: Yeah, likewise. Um, we just had an awesome jam.

Jaden: Ah, it was, it was too good.

Sylvain: It was a classic too, it was a D minor jam. Like in the old days, in the, in the first 10 years of this instrument existing, all the Hangs were in D minor for the most part almost. And so it feels good to get back into this key, this tone.

Jaden: It's almost nostalgic for you, Huh?

Sylvain: A little bit. Yeah.

Jaden: Yeah. It's a, it's a classic hand pan kind of, um, character, you know?

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: Yeah. It's like, think of like Daniel waffles and all that.

Sylvain: All these guys. Yeah. And now obviously it's all over the place, across different keys and different pitches.

Jaden: Like there's even a blues scale like for jazz and all that.

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: It's truly, uh, it's getting pretty versatile now, so that's really cool.

Sylvain: Do you feel like you would enjoy having a super specific sound model, like a blues scale? Or do you want to have more open possibilities with an instrument?

Jaden: I think the fact that it's so limited leads to it being so handpan-esque.

Sylvain: Sure. Yeah.

Jaden: Cause I feel like if you have very versatile instruments, like a piano. It gets really too complex. Right?

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: And Yeah, you can play any scale, any rhythm, any whatever you want, but at the cost of having to learn a lot of training and it gets really complex, you know. But the handpan, the fact that it only is so limited to however many notes you can fit on, that little leads to it being so unique. And what's the word? Creative freedom. Is that the...?

Sylvain: Yeah, you're right on the money.

Jaden: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Sylvain: Um, yeah. I mean I feel like the way I've heard it described, which is not a perfect analogy, but if a family has children in a front yard and there's a road that passes right next to the front yard, if they want to give their kids freedom to play in the front yard, they might decide to put up a fence, which protects them from getting run over by cars. Um, and so the limitations, which means they can't go past the fence actually gives them freedom to explore, um, that play area.

Jaden: Yeah.

Sylvain: And so we have limitations with this instrument, but within those limitations we have complete freedom to explore. Exactly. And if the handpan were like, um, a cheap xylophone or some sort of cheap toy where the notes would be pure tones with no overtones or no harmonics, it would be fairly limited. But we know that there is just a wealth of sounds within the instrument, right? The, the partials, the Helmholtz, the attack, the sympathetic resonance between the notes. So it's simple, but it's not simplistic.

Jaden: It's very complex how it, it sings with itself, you know, it harmonizes with itself because there's so many different parts and bits to the handpan and every note is so versatile. You know, I think there's like three notes in one pretty much. And you don't get that with a lot of i