Showing posts from 2019

Gong Summit: Day 5

All Good Things…

My initial reaction is, “How did we get here, to the last day?” The week has gone by in a flash (refer to my presentation about the elasticity of time). What a week it was. And now we are wrapping things up. Lunch was bittersweet, as we knew that we would all be moving on, back to our own lives. So many friendships were started or renewed here. It's difficult to part and leave it all behind. This has been a life changing event for many of us. 

We all got together in the barn room one more time. Mitch summed things up and thanked all the presenters and other people involved in making this Summit happen. There was laughter, there were tears, and there was a collective sigh realizing how much the time spent together meant to each of us. 

Last purchases were made of Gongs and accessories, and finally, it was time for goodbyes. And then packing it all up and loading things back into the trucks. Fortunately, the trucks were much lighter, as Shawn Aceto, Grotta Sonora, and …

Gong Summit: Day 4

Day 4 and the energy level is still high. Everyone seems to be riding a wave of euphoria. And why not? There are Gongs everywhere and the vibrations are flowing. I'm tired, but the sheer energy in the air keeps me going.

Who is this Teutonic madman????

No one is prepared for the morning Master Class presented by Jens Zygar from Germany. Jens brings a blitzkrieg assault of the Cosmic Octave that leaves everyone stunned in their seats. 

Jens telling me, "Michael, don't use your thumb!"
Jens brought an intense sense of humor to his presentation. But he also shared a lot of knowledge about the idea of the Cosmic Octave and how it works and fits into our lives. He certainly cleared up some misunderstandings I had about the system. 

He also demonstrated a beautiful way to approach the Gong and play it, which brings you into the Gong and its sound. I have more work to do when I get home.

Mike Tamburo

Mike drove to the summit as part of his east coast tour. He brought his large set…

Gong Summit: Day 3

Today was the midpoint of the Summit. Things are moving along and there are brisk sales of all things Gong and accessories. Where else can you ever have the chance to try out so many wonderful instruments and even talk to the people who made them? I bought more stuff and easily went through my allotted budget. I'm good with that.

 Where else can you ever find Gongs lining the hallways?
 Do you need mallets? Perhaps some Noah Bells or other small percussion.

Michael Bettine

Wednesday morning and I was a bit nervous to be presenting a master class. While I've done hundreds of sessions and classes, presenting your ideas to such a group of Gong fanatics seemed a bit daunting. But I had no need to worry, as these are my people, my tribe, and they embraced me with such warmth and love. I was both honored and humbled. I also had a lot of fun.

Some guy talking about Gongs. (Photo borrowed from Jens Zygar)
How do I describe or critique my own class? I won't. I'll leave it up to oth…

Gong Summit: Day 2

Yes, this post is a few days late, but It's been an intense past 3 months for me, and Tuesday night I just needed to get some sleep so I would be fresh at 8:30am for my session. 

Shawn Aceto

Shawn's a big guy who makes BIG Gongs. While he makes all sizes, 40-60" are his specialty. His 60" Gongs tower over the presentation room. While he's only been making Gongs for a few years, he's made steady progress is really dialing in the sound. His Gongs are expressive, as well as artistic.

Shawn helping with a Gong selection.

 The mirrored finish makes it difficult to get a photo of the stunning artwork.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than the art of Shawn's  Planet Jupiter Gong? It sounds as good as it looks. Stunning!
Day 2 started off with Mitch Nur presenting a history of the Gong. His research drew on various ancient books and documents, as well as interviews with people around the world. There's so much misinformation on the Gong and it's origi…

Gong Summit: Day 1

It's 11:30pm as I write this after the 1st official day of the Gong Summit. Lots of action today as most of the people arrived and settled in. More Gongs were also brought out and set up. Gongs line all the downstairs hallways. It's definitely a candy store for Gong players. Most everything is for sale, and there's also a great selection of mallets, Burma bells, singing bowls, and related instruments and accessories. It's all magical. Where else can you try out so many fantastic instruments in person and choose the ones you want? I must admit to having to hold back from buying more things than I already have bought here!

Some of the mallets, bowls, and smaller Gongs for sale.
I just spent all day absorbing everything, all the vibrations, all the conversations, and all of the camaraderie. As you might imagine, the vibe here is amazing. Everyone is wonderful and open to the whole experience.

Grotta Sonora

One of the most impressive things here are the offerings from Grotta S…

Gong Summit Day -1

I played a Gong Session last night in Woodstock, Il, got home late, then got up at 4am to catch a flight out here with my wife. I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep.

Today was the day before the actual Gong Summit and things are already happening. Some presenters and people, like myself, have arrived early. The afternoon was spent unloading trucks full of Gongs and stands, carting them in, and setting things up. This will definitely be the place to try out and hear a lot of different Gongs.

Massive new Bowls from Grotto Sonora

A huge, and I mean huge Gong from Shawn Aceto
Lots of Chinese Gongs of all types and sizes
A wall of Shawn Aceto creations
The Summit doesn't officially start until 3pm tomorrow, but there were already many lively discussions happening around the building. It's truly a meeting of the minds.
As for myself, I've enjoyed meeting people in person that I've known online only, and look forward to meeting many more. 
I'll post more tomorrow.
~ MB
Chop Wo…

Life Goes On

It's been a difficult 3 months for me since April. Besides a very intense schedule of both gigging and teaching, my 89 year old father's health took a rapid decline and he died. Between gigs, we were visiting him as much as we could. Since he died, it's been a lot of work to just deal with his passing and trying to settle his estate. Of course my blogs all fell by the wayside. 

Next week (July 1-5) I will be in Chester, CT as part of the 1st Gong Summit. I will be presenting a master class and be a part of 3 panel discussions. I will also be hanging out all week and hope to have time to talk with everyone attending. I plan to blog daily about the whole event starting June 30 and going to July 6. Hopefully I will have the time and energy to at least post a wrap up of each day. If I can't post in detail, I'll do something later in July when I have the time. Watch for this on The Way of The Gong™.

After the Summit my wife and I will be taking a much needed bit of vacati…

From the Mail box: Should I Change My Gong Cord

This week I'd like to look at a question that comes not from my mail box, but from a recent Facebook discussion. Someone posted this: 
“The Gut Cord on my Gong is beginning to shred a bit. What is a good cord to buy to hold my 32" Paiste?…How often does the Gut cord need replacing? Mine is starting to shred after only 4 months on my 32" Paiste.”

Of course there were many suggestions as far as what to do, mostly about using different types of cord/wire to hang their Gong. I gave my suggestion as per a replacement cord, but then asked a very important question: how 'frayed' was their cord? 

They posted this photo:

In actuality, this is not very frayed and not a problem. I can certainly understand their concern, but Paiste has long chosen to use gut cord for their Gongs because it's extremely strong and durable, and also flexible. As for my own Paiste Gongs, most of them have cords that look like this photo. I have 20 year old ones that look like this. Gut cord wil…

True Confessions: I Don't Clean My Gongs

I field a lot of questions about cleaning Gongs, but I have to admit that I don't really clean mine. I'm not obsessive about them like some people. I don't wear white gloves when handling them, in fact, I touch them with my bare hands. 

If you look at my Paiste Gongs from a distance, they look really great. Up close, you can see finger prints, scratches, discoloration, and areas where the wax coating has worn off. The coating tends to keep them in good shape. I may wipe them off with a cloth once in a while, or even wash them with water and Dawn Blue dish detergent, but not often (I can't remember the last time I washed them off!). 

Which Paiste Gong is 20 years old? 30? 40?
I love my Gongs and take good care of them. I always transport them in hard or flight cases, but let's face it, they are TOOLS. They are the tools I use to create the music I play. And as such, I don't obsess over keeping them as clean and shiny as the day I got them.

My 19 year old 32" Sy…