Michael Bettine: Rock music is kind of boring…
As a trained percussionist, Michael Bettine started his music career playing in rock bands. It sounds exhilarating, but now, with 35+ years in the music business, he admits it was kind of boring playing the same 10 songs in every concert.
Michael is inseparable from his music. He has lived and breathed music and percussion since grade school. Back then, mostly out of curiosity, Michael started to experiment playing gongs.
Gongs have become his fascination and his teacher. His classical percussionist training hadn’t introduced him to the surprises that gongs had in store. Gongs revealed qualities he didn’t expect to find. Trust. Deep trust.
When Michael plays the gongs, he relies heavily on improvisation. So much depends on the space he’s playing in, the mood of the audience, and the feelings and emotions coursing through his body at the very moment of the concert.
In the beginning it was strictly curiosity and new techniques that appealed to him. When I asked if and how the gongs affected his health, Michael said initially he hadn’t noticed, but then admitted he rarely got sick since he began working with this instrument.
So there must be some truth to the healing qualities of sound.
Gongs open inner doors. Their music is a way to circumvent the rational mind. The sound goes straight through to our core and allows healing to happen.
Michael says when he plays he and his audience are here and now, fully in the present. No stories of the past, no dreams of the future. Just the sound, filling the moment.