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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:

Follow Jaden on Instagram:

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 instruments.

Sylvain: You're right.

Jaden: Yeah. That, that's again, why the handpan is so unique.

Sylvain: Totally. And even like with a center note, you might have five notes. You have the fundamental, the octave, the fifth and then two partials tuned into the shoulder. Um, so that's, there's really, um, a richness to it, whether you play with your flat finger, with your thumb, with your palm. Like there's just a lot of possibilities.

Jaden: And that's why I prefer playing hand percussion is cause you can get so many different tat sounds and timbres with just your hands and the fact that you don't need like a mallet or anything. You'd just play anything. And that goes for anything. I drum on tables myself, you know, pant legs or whatever.

Sylvain: Yes, learning on tables, right? Isn't it the best, the best teacher.

Jaden: Honestly, that's how I've learned how to play all hand percussion and that's how I got really good at it. I would just drum on a table or like anything that had a good base to it. You know, like um, my dad had this big old water tank in his backyard once and I hit it with my fist and it made the biggest base and I was like, oh I could use this.

Sylvain: So maybe the, I mean maybe we're onto something here because I think like yourself, I taught myself to play percussion on like a school table or whatever I could get my hands on. And so unlike other musical instruments that have a high entry barrier, the handpan is accessible, like playing on your lap or on a table. And so it just resonates. It just connects, right. It clicks right away.

Jaden: Yeah. It's cause it's kind of something natural to do, at least for me anyways. I'm a very fidgety person, like shaking my leg right now. You know, I'll fidget pencils all the time. And now the, I learned hand percussion, that's my new fidgeting toys just to drum on stuff at the bonus of, you know, practicing. So a nervous habit is now benefiting me in like that musical way, which I think is really cool.

Sylvain: Yeah. So Jaden, give us a little bit of an introduction, um, saying maybe where you're from, where you live now, how old you are, just a little bit about your background.

Jaden: Okay. Okay. So I grew up in a tiny little town in New Mexico called Tularosa. Right. And the population is around 3000 right now. I totally forgot. It's small, tiny, tiny little place. So I grew up there for a majority of my life living on a farm with my dad. And uh, yeah, I feel like the school was very basic, you know, and everything was very basic. But there's a huge sense of community there that I really enjoyed. Everyone was like family and you know, that's why I love living there. But I wanted to explore, you know, at the time over it, cause my mom lived over in a city like an hour away called Los crucis and the family over there had, or my Auntie, which was over there had a piano and she would always play it. And my little self, I was probably, I don't know, six, seven, something like that. And I got into it and I was like, wow, like teach me. And so she teach me little songs like chopsticks and you know, like little things like that. And that totally sparked my musical journey. I began learning piano and I started getting really good at it and I was like, you know what, I want to play in an orchestra. My school doesn't have an orchestra. We never had music. I mean we did, but it was very basic, like maracas and like little things, you know, um, like elementary stuff. So I, uh, I moved with my mom to los crucis and I went to middle school there and I joined a little orchestra in middle school and it was, it was good ice began to learn the cello and that was a new instrument and I was psyched, you know, it was such a beautiful instrument. And, uh, I started getting really good at that and then I eventually decided, you know what? I want to take this to the next level. And I started going into the big orchestras like southwest music academy. That was that, that was the big one in New Mexico. So I joined that, eventually moved to Houston and joined the best orchestra I've ever been in. I made regional competition there. I, yeah, it was, it was such a beautiful thing, but I don't know, I guess my heart was, belonged in the desert and, and Houston wasn't a great place for me. I mean, it was kind of sad. I thought like the greenery and the beauty of being there would be good, better than like the boring desert I thought at the time. But then I realized how suffocating trees are, you know, it was like blocking the sun and I was like missing home a lot. Anyways, I got really sad and eventually was like, I can't do this, you know? So back to New Mexico. I went back to my little town and uh, there I was, you know, with little bit of instruments, I didn't know what to really play cause I didn't really have like an orchestra to play with. So I just kind of played my own stuff. But for the most part I fell out of that musical, whatever. But then I discovered the rav drum and the handpan.

Jaden: You know, I show my dad and I was like, look at this thing. And he was like, okay, that's cool. He's like, can you make it? And I was like, no, I don't know how. I was like, I need to research since I did a bunch of research and uh, eventually came across the Rav drum on that. You know thing. And I was like, this is like the affordable hand pan. I thought it sounded cooler. It was relaxing. That's kind of the tone I wanted. And a, I was like, okay, let's, let's do this. So I started working up enough money and eventually bought myself a Rav. Got that. And I was like, all right, cool. This is, this is good. And um, yeah, then I moved to Phoenix, right. And so in Phoenix, I, yeah, I got back into the orchestra, I got back into a big school and I started doing music again. You know, my music, cello and piano. Everything started taking off again and I was good. And I was busking at the time. This was my first time busking with the Rav and I was a little nervous, but I met really, really cool people. I literally just sat on the floor and my little like hat in front of me and played and I, I wasn't concerned about making money. I just wanted to share this instrument, you know, cause I thought of how beautiful it was and uh, you know, I met that. That's something beautiful about this instrument is you can meet so many great people. Cause I feel like a lot of people just walk by musicians. Like it's just like they, they, they see us like beggars sometimes just looking for spare change. But other people see the beauty and the music and uh, they'll always like come up to me and talk and it's great. You know, that's something I haven't done cause I'm too antisocial for my own good. But, um, it got me out of my shell and at this time I started really getting into handpan music and I was like, you know what, I'm going to try to work up for one and I busked and busked and busked and you know, started working up for a hand pan. And then one day in Sedona, it was a very rainy day and whenever we went, cause the rain Benchley stopped and it was like bad. Like the place was flooding. It was walking in the little like tourist shops just to get an out of escape the rain. And I met some guy named Chad and he had a handpan. This was the first time I've ever seen one in person. And I was like, Oh...

Jaden: I talked to him and he saw that I played the Rav. He's like, you want to play it? And I was like, yes, this is, this is amazing. And I played it and I was, sounded actually good at it and it's not, it was like, cause I had experienced with the Rav at the time and so it was good to play with that. And He, I feel like really, really inspired me and turned me onto the handpan. He's a traveling musician. I don't know where he is now. Maybe you can hear this. That'll be cool. Yeah, you've inspired me Chad. And so yeah, he, he's the one who really sparked the handpan journey. See, and that's something I want to do is make an impression on someone like that with music.

Sylvain: Yeah. And there are so many golden nuggets in what you just shared. Um, first I want to come back to something you brushed over really quickly, you, which is when your dad asked you, can you make it, is that something you can make? Was he implying that you could possibly make a handpan from scratch at home?

Jaden: Um, yeah. I mean, we lived on a farm in, like I said, you know, we had a lot of just tools laying around. We had a shed, I had the tools I really needed to. And at the time I was actually making didgeridoos, cause you know, I'm in the desert. Agaves grow just naturally. And so we'll, whenever they put out the flower stocks, they dry out and the outside is hard, like wood. But whenever you cut it an open, the inside is real pithy and it feels like styrofoam. So I started making didgeridoos and I was hoping to, you know, use those to buy my hand pan and all that. And um, you know, I was making instruments and I showed this to my dad and he was like, wow, that's, you know, that's different. And he's like, what is it made out of? And I was like, it's steel. And he's like, I bet you can make one out of like a barrel. And so I did research and uh, what is it? I came across the Caribbean drum and I knew what the Caribbean drum was, but I never really delve into the history of it and how it works and the mechanics. And I was like, I could do this. And I was like, it's basically a controlled dent and boy was I wrong? I mean it was a, yeah, I did more research and realized how incredibly complex this instrument was. But I tried anyways. I knew that I was going to crash and burn. So I literally went outside into this junkyard that was right by my house and got this rusty barrel and rolled it all the way back to my farm. Or I got a sledgehammer and hammered a big hole and, uh, you know, a big old shell and I just kept hammering until I came across the shape of the hand pan. I kinda knew the dimensions and the um, you know, how the shapes of the note, tone fields would work in correlation with the dimples and all that. And I don't know, I bit off more than I can chew right now. It's in the shed kind of rusting away because I totally messed it up. But it was a start.

Jaden: I think I was 14 whenever I began to make instruments, probably 13. Actually I was exposed to the Didgeridoo in the renaissance fair whenever someone made it out of bamboo. And I was like, oh, that's different. You know, like I've never heard of a wind instrument become a rhythmical instrument. Those were two things I never thought it was possible. So I was like, okay, that's, that's different. I want to, I want to explore this. And at the time I was kind of getting into the rhythm of music. I've always explored melodies but never rhythm. And so this is a different aspect of music that I was interested in. So I got this Didgeridoo for like 30 bucks, you know, and played it, got used to, started learning it and I was like, it's just a tube. I literally can go outside, pull up a piece of PVC pipe and play it like a Didgeridoo. And I was like, how hard this could this be? I want to make one. I started making them and uh, I mean, yeah, I have like probably 4 big ol' agave didgeridoos in my shed right now. Oh yeah.

Sylvain: So what would you say sparked your interest in making stuff? Cause not every 13 year old makes musical instruments in their backyard.

Jaden: Yeah, that's true. And uh, whenever I was little I was, I mean, I'm a very artsy person to begin with. I, I draw, I make poetry, I make music, you know, and um, and truly it's such a small town with very little to offer it that it adds a sense of boredom that leads to creation, right? Boredom is the mother of creation. And I, you know, like whenever you have nothing to do and you have, are given a pile of mud, right. I began to make little clay sculptures. I made little clay snow man, you know, and I was little at the time. And you know, little things like that, you don't know you're a kid and your mind can do whatever it wants because it doesn't, no limitations like an adult would associate limitations too.

Sylvain: Do you feel like this outlet of making stuff was a channel for your imagination and creativity? Were you a very creative kid growing up?

Jaden: Yeah, I was the different kid. You know, I was the one who would be content with getting a little toy and then going in the corner and just kind of playing with it. I wasn't very quiet. I mean I was very quiet. I wasn't very loud like a lot of my other, like the other kids I hung out with, you know, like I, I was Kinda kept to myself and I did my own thing. So,

Sylvain: so how did you experience that transition? A more classical, traditional setting through the cello you're experiencing in the orchestra?

Jaden: So, you know, and from going like playing like a child and just doing whatever, I became to this very structured music. Right. They'd had to be played a certain way because it's always been done that way. You have to play it and no other way else. I didn't really care for that, but I did it anyways because I wanted a good grade in that class. And um, you know, I learned it, I did whatever cause I was is what was expected of me, but that was only for the cello. I've self taught everything else. You know, I tried piano lessons but I didn't like that control. And um, yeah, pretty much the Internet taught me and that's the beauty of the Internet. It is so accessible and you can get so much information just at your fingertips, you know? And I feel like that's really the only thing I use the Internet for. I don't use it for video games. I don't use it for any of that cause I feel like that's just a waste of life. I might as well be making something or learning something. So with the Internet came knowledge of music theory and notes and chords and instruments. And that's how I began to learn piano. And um, the cello was taught to me through you know, school. So this is a good, uh, thing that I was thinking of. So the piano teaches you the fundamental ah, what's the word? Like what music is. It teaches you what notes are, teaches you how notes work with one another, chords, harmonies, melodies, rhythms, all that. And Yeah, you can get emotion out of it, but I feel like you can't get emotion like you can get out of a cello. You can with the bow of the cello. That's where a lot of the magic happens because then that adds volume that adds this, this, um, texture and your hand works as by vibrato to give it that singing quality as something you can't do with the piano. And so I feel like the cello teaches you emotion and true passion behind music and what it's meant to communicate. Cause it's like singing. And the piano teaches you the true structure and the basics of music theory. And I mean, not even basics, it gets really complex. But um, you know, it teaches you the very fundamental building blocks of music. And if you learn these two things together, I think that was really what led me to basically pick up any instrument I need to now and know how to play it. Cause I understand how it works, understand how it feels, I understand how I can use it to communicate. And so that's my approach on music.

Sylvain: When you discovered that the Rav and then the hand pan, you sense of it right away and that attracted you to it?

Jaden: Yes, definitely. I saw that it had keys kind of like, each note was like a key on the piano, but it could also sing like a cello, you know? And I thought, Whoa, that's what really drew me to it because of how versatile I put those two things together into one. And I thought that was beautiful. And so I, I guess that's probably why I was called to it so much. You know, it was versatile yet limited it harmonized so well and it sung so well. And it had, was almost structured but yet very liberating and free. Yeah. Yeah.

Sylvain: So, so you've been playing hand pan for a couple of years now?

Jaden: Actually last week I've had the pan pan hand pan for one year.

Sylvain: One year. Oh.

Jaden: So like I said, all that table drumming really pulled off.

Sylvain: Yeah. And you've already had a lot of great experiences. Oh, totally. You mentioned busking. What are some of the other settings that the Hampton has brought you into?

Jaden: Recently and where I discovered you, was at the Yoga Studio?

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: Yeah. So you played at the Yoga Studio and we all meditated with lake, some sound healing and all that. And that was, I don't know, I saw you on Facebook and I, you know, this is one thing led to another and the synchronistic way and we ended eventually meeting, but that same yoga studio has invited me to start playing there.

Sylvain: Cool.

Jaden: I started talking to crystal and um, you know, the owner of the yoga studio and she's like, yeah, we should totally get together and kind of play like me and Sylvan did. And I was like, yes let's Do it. So...

Sylvain: That's awesome.

Jaden: Yeah. And um, we also were part of a drum circle as well. You know, just this little like little hole in the wall place that just go into the mountains and watch the full moon rise and be a bunch of hippies. But Serena also hooked me up with some other guy who has, or who knows, a really cool recording studio. It's literally like a pyramid and it goes underground, I think. And you, there's a recording studio in there and he says, yeah, uh, the, you know, he's like, I'm into sound healing. And he's like, you have a sound healing instrument. And you know, I might probably talk to him later, but you know, I haven't really gotten into it. But yeah, I'm so new to the hand pan right now. So things are barely starting to happen, but things are happening, synchronistic events. I'm meeting people. It's magic

Sylvain: And it's a good place to remind everyone that you are 16 years old.

Jaden: I'm 16.

Sylvain: The amount of experiences and connections that you've had before the handpan, but also through this instrument over the past year is really remarkable. Um, obviously your passion is only increasing.

Jaden: Oh , definitely it's a bottomless pit.

Sylvain: What are the things that get you most excited about the instrument? Maybe some of the projects that you envisioned for the future with the hand pan.

Jaden: So right now I'm trying to make hand pans, even though they say I've made a shell of one, it's literally just a sculpture that looks like a hand pan, but itself sounds like that. And like how would you expect banging on a barrel would sound, you know, I didn't understand how the mechanics of a note works, but I'm making one, and I'm hopefully going to do this over the summer is make a Caribbean drum because dimples add another huge, um, level of expertise. So Caribbean drums I think will be a lot more simple. Um, so that's going to be one big project I'm gonna try to make. And in order to introduce myself slowly into the handpan, um, more didgeridoos I have, I might have a customer actually. So he, this little kid who kind of got an in into the Didgeridoo and uh, my dad was like, Hey, this kid, uh, is into what you're making. And I was like, Oh yeah. And I was like, Let's show him one of my instruments. And um, you know, as I might go over there and I might make a little one for him, he's probably like nine years old, so I'll make a little like, I don't know, three foot one. So, um, and working with, uh, Agave Kinda showed me a lot of new sounds, right? Cause it's very, it resonates very well because of how thin the wood is and very soft yet like the, the inside is really soft and it resonates and gives it this very soft quality if the outside's very hard, you know, so it adds a very sturdy feel to it and I think I can make a string instrument out of it. Like I can make an upright bass if I wanted to. I think that would be really cool, but it's still in the works. I need a figure out how I would have to do it, but it's, am I urge an idea that crossed my mind or some kind of string instrument, like, um, I think it'd be a cool sitar or something different like that. Cause the base of an Agave, how an Agave grows is at first it creates this basil rosette of um, a bunch of leaves that are very spiny. And so they'll grow for a, it's called an, it's also known as a century plant cause they'll stay like that for a century or so. I don't know if they take a while to bloom, eventually it'll send out this big old stock, right. And it puts all this life energy into creating the stock to reproduce along with making a little pups, which are like little cuttings, you know. And um, eventually once he creates the stock, it gets pollinated, it creates it seeds. The entire plant will die, right. And at that point, I come in, I'll harvest the plant, right, spread it seeds and I'll leave the pups they're intact in so they can keep on reproducing. I'll strip the, um, where the leaves are and it's this big old bulb, right? And that bowl by can use like as the base of the instrument layer. That's like the resonation chamber, right? So like the end of a sitar and the neck could be, or like the biggest start could be the neck. And you know, all these ideas are kind of floating through my mind right now, but it's something I'm willing to try definitely in the future, maybe over the summer. So I'll see what I can do. Yeah. Yeah.

Sylvain: So much potential.

Jaden: So much potential.

Sylvain: Your future is bright, Jaden.

Jaden: Definitely, thank you. And um, it's just, I could go down so many different paths and right now I'm just trying to go through all of them, you know, just to see what I can do in the short time while I'm alive and, uh, see as much as I can learn experiences, as much as they can experience and get as much wisdom as I can learn. And so, I don't know, that's kind of my goal in life is just to experience life. That's my philosophy. There's no need to be worried about anything. Just live it. That's, that's part of being human, you know, so...

Sylvain: It's good to hear that coming from, from you. You're wise is for your age. You're very mature. Thank you. And if anyone can succeed at living this life the way you describe it, um, well I think you're well on your way with this kind of curiosity and enthusiasm and I just really can't wait for you to meet some of the, some of the folks within the handpan community too. Uh, we talked about Colin Foulke earlier today. Um, I think he would get along very well with him and um, I'm just really excited and eager to see what you come up with meets you. And uh, is there a way you're going to document some of your progress, your experimentations?

Jaden: Well, the way I am currently, you know, I've documented my didgeridoo project. I made flutes out of cane that's grown in a creek right by my house. Um, I'm currently making the hand pan and I'm making a video documentation of that. I'm posting a few of these videos on Youtube.

Sylvain: Okay.

Jaden: I need to get that youtube channel better because right now it only has two videos up. But that's basically where I'm posting a lot of my stuff, mostly on Instagram. That's where all my stuff is. Right. I've condensed my videos into little Instagram videos.

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: But, um, yeah, that I'm slowly documenting things. All my projects, all my instruments on making the things I travel, the things I see. And uh, the music I make, you know, I'm slowly getting into it, but it's, you know, getting somewhere social media wise. But mostly I just played to play for people live. I don't really go on to social media all that much, which is probably a big, good thing that a lot of people need to do, you know, and something I'm trying to do, you know, and I'm, I'm getting better.

Sylvain: Well, I'll be sure to get all these links and to put them in the show notes for this episode.

Jaden: Oh yes. Definitely.

Sylvain: Um, so you mentioned playing live and playing for people, that community aspect, it's, it seems important to you, uh, describe, uh, experience, performing, sharing the music in person.

Jaden: Yeah. So in person, like I said, you ended up bringing in a lot of really cool souls, right? I've met, uh, the owner of guitar shops. I've met a lot of hippies. I've met and touched a lot of people's souls, you know, and um, you just make a lot of good friends. Do you know that you only meet for like a second, but you make friends right off the bat with the one common interest of music, you know? And that's something beautiful. And this is a good story. I was busking in Old Town Scottsdale, right? And it was a decent day and I've made like probably five bucks right now. It's starting to get high. I was about to pack up, but I was like, you know, I'm just gonna play it for a little bit. And I know this little old homeless lady was just kind of sitting there watching me know now, all right, you know, that's cool. I got a little audience and I eventually packed up and leaved or began to leave. And she started flagging me down like, hey, hey, hey, come here. And so I go over there and she's going through her basket of stuff and she pulls out $100 in cash. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not gonna accept this. And she's like, take it please. And I'm like, I don't, I don't, I could care less about the money. You know? I was like, I just want, I just want to share it. And she insisted. So I didn't want to be rude, but that was crazy. It was so insane. And I did not expect that at all.

Sylvain: You touched her.

Jaden: I did.

Sylvain: I mean, that's the thing that you being out there, sharing your gift, sharing your passion, just engaging with the world around you. Um, that's inspiring. You know, I think you give me hope for the future when I tend to get cynical.

Jaden: No me too.

Sylvain: Yeah, it's really cool you had that experience. Um, it is kind of fun to get a really big tip. Um, I remember when I first went out busking, uh, I was 17 so you discovered the handpan at a younger age than I did.

Jaden: I probably discovered it when I was 13, then began to pursue it when I was 14, 15.

Sylvain: Yeah.

Sylvain: Yeah. I got my Hang in 2007. Um, so I was 17. My cousin had loaned me one of his Hangs, uh, the year prior. But the first experience I had busking was in the south of France. Uh, took a vacation with my family and my dad, my brother and I went out and sat by the sort of the, the sea shore and started playing music. And there was a Swiss guy, ironically, I Swiss guy who stood there the whole time. He stayed the whole evening. And, uh, at the end he, uh, gave me a 50 euro tip, which, You know, when you're that age, like you're not working necessarily yet or you don't have a paycheck, you know, so it's a, it doesn't even completely register, but like I'll tell you right now, like as a working adult, I rarely give people 50 euro, $50 a hundred dollar tips. Like that is a profound experience when that happens. Um, so I think, yeah, it just highlights that this was a powerful moment that you had.

Sylvain: Let's talk about busking for a second because it's interesting, right? In the short history of this instrument, it seems like Hang players and then handpan players have naturally gravitated towards taking their instrument out into the city, into their community. And these folks, you and I, um, and just the multitude of, of people that make up this loose handpan community worldwide. They're not street performers, right? Like it's not like this, this demographic, this psychographic is, was meant to go out into the streets and, and play the street musicians. It's something else. It's maybe a compulsion that we've experienced this, this art, this beauty, and we just have to share it.

Jaden: Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking. You know, it's like, you know, it's so rare, I've only seen three handpan players just naturally, you know, while it's going on my day to day basis, you know, but I'm always traveling and going everywhere, you know? And a lot of people don't do that. So I, you know, I have more exposure, but I saw Chad, I saw the, you know, the guy that really turned me on, gave me my first handpan experience, some other girl who was also in Sedona and she had a, a golden one. I think it was made out of stainless steel. It was very pretty, but I don't know, I never really talked to her. I just kind of like came up to her. I had the RAV at the time, I was going to busk there, but she kind of had the spot. I was like, no, I'm not going to take the outlet or play. And so, um, and then I met you, you know, you're the third handpan player and then you, now you're introducing me to everyone so...

Sylvain: Yeah, it's fun. We had Dan Price pass through Phoenix a couple months ago, so you got to join us for an epic little, almost mini gathering.

Jaden: Yeah. That was a little mini gathering.

Sylvain: At my place here where you had what, 13 or 14 handpans.

Jaden: I think it was 15 hand pans in total. Yeah. And three handpan players.

Sylvain: Wow. Yeah. Well, again, as I said, it's super inspiring to just hear about your story, your approach to the instrument. Um, it just reminds me of something that, um, was said in a previous episode with Mary Mosley. Like you just see it all as potential. You're just pumped up and you're, you're excited to go out there and make stuff and um, I'm just tremendously excited to see where that continues to take you.

Jaden: Yeah, it's crazy cause I don't even know where I'm going. I'm just going with wherever life takes me. And that's really freeing. I feel like a lot of people are stressed because they want to go one place and they're stressed because they're trying to get to that one goal. But honestly, I don't have a goal in mind. I just want to live, you know, and just have a fun life. And that's a very stress free life. Yeah, you're going to have troubles on the way, but you learn from that. You learn from pain. That's the beauty of being human. You can't, I feel like if we never hurt you, we're never going to be happy. You have to have the Yin and Yang, you have to have to contradict and you learn and you get wiser and you, you know, learn lessons. And that's something that I learned at after Houston. You know, as a big lesson I've learned after Houston. I feel like I've grown a lot wiser because of it. I think it's shaped me to the way I am now. Is that insight?

Sylvain: Well, again, for your age, that's a profound insight and I think you're, you're totally right. Um, I also see the power of creativity in, in your life and how you mentioned it, it helps you to come out of your shell.

Jaden: Oh, definitely.

Sylvain: Pun intended. Um, and, uh, and I relate with that. I think, I think it did the same thing for me. Um, so yeah, I really appreciate you being on the podcast. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Jaden: Honored to be here. You know, this is my first thing of really exposure to the handpan community. So this is a big thing for me.

Sylvain: Yeah.

Jaden: Yeah. So...

Sylvain: Yeah. And, and it's a wonderful community out there and I'm looking forward to, uh, the next gatherings that maybe you'll be able to join in the southwest, um, for you to bounce off ideas and, and, and meet some of the folks, uh, who make this instrument because you're on your way to making possibly them as well.

Jaden: It's very slow and it's going to be a huge learning curve and probably a lot of money, but it's going somewhere.

Sylvain: Yeah, that's cool. Well, they, this little community that we're a part of is made richer because you're in it. And so, um, welcome on. Behalf of all of us. I mean, happy one year anniversary of playing handpan and, um, I can tell you I've been playing over 10 years. I think it's, it's been since 2006, 2007, it continuously gets better. So I'm excited for you to experience that too.

Jaden: Yeah, it's, uh, it's really exciting to, you know, see where whatever this instrument takes me and wherever my passions go, I'll follow and wherever I end up is where I end up, so, so be it, you know.

Sylvain: Cool. Well, happy to share a bit of the journey with you and, um, let's play more handpans.

Jaden: Let's do it.

Sylvain: Alright, thanks again, Jaden.

Jaden: Thanks.

Sylvain: Well, this is Jaden's story. What's yours? I stumbled upon a quote recently from an author named John Piper. It was in an article about work and productivity that he wrote: "And finally, find your niche — that is, find the thing you do love to do. With all your weaknesses and all your strengths, put most of your energies and your love there". If you'd like to continue the conversation online, you can join our facebook group: the handpan podcast community. And if you'd like to help support the show, you can get really cool merch at and click merch. The most popular design is an illustration of a green alien playing the handpan, available on tshirt, hoodies, tank tops, shower curtains and more. That's it for this episode. Thanks for listening and talk to you in the next one.

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