Relaxing ZEN Music, which was created by composer and Zen teacher Chiang Kai-shek in the 1980s, has been downloaded nearly five billion times worldwide and is used by more than one billion people around the world.
In this video, Zen musician Jason Dettmer talks about the music, its origins and why he’s excited to share his music with the world at large.
Jason Dettsmer: When I started doing music in my youth, I was taught Zen by a Zen master named Chiang.
In the early years, I had a great deal of difficulty in learning to play music.
The Zen masters who were around at that time were very strict.
I remember the first time I ever heard my own voice on stage, I heard a piece by a teacher named Zen.
I thought that was really cool, and I was really into it.
I was so into it that I tried to learn how to play piano.
I got really good at it.
Then I heard the other teachers saying, “No, you can’t do it,” and I said, “Well, if you can do it, why can’t I?”
And they said, ‘Well, we can’t teach you how to do it.’
“Jason Detsmer: Chiang’s teachings in the early days were about being patient with your own weaknesses.
He said, you have to let go of some of your desires and try to see things as they are, rather than try to create them.
You have to accept what you’ve got, and be a little more patient and just be able to allow it to happen.
And that’s what I’ve always been about, trying to embrace the fact that I can’t control the things that happen to me.
I can control my life and my health and my mood and my emotions and how I react to situations, but I also can’t be in control of the things around me.
So, he was very, very strict, and he was also very generous.
And then as time went on, I think his teaching got more sophisticated and more formalized, and it really took me in a direction that I think I still enjoy.
I like to play a variety of different styles of music, and that’s part of what I’m about.
Jason Bettmer: I grew up listening to a lot of different artists, including Chiang, but also like a lot, a lot more contemporary artists.
I also loved a lot early R&B, and also a lot pop.
It was a little bit like, “Oh, that’s good!” and I loved that.
But I really, really enjoyed the R&am and the Riffraff, too, because they were very experimental.
And I loved a couple of those guys from the late ’60s and early ’70s.
I love all of that stuff.
Jason Cetron: I first learned to play guitar when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and then at the age of 15 I started studying music theory.
I had just started studying in an all-girls school in Paris, and they had me study in a different school in the center of Paris called the Ecole du Musique Française.
So I spent a year there studying music and writing music and stuff.
It’s really fascinating to hear someone else learn the art of playing guitar and how they really went about it.
Jason: That was actually when I first started playing music.
I’m not the best singer or guitarist or anything, but when I started practicing, I actually was playing a lot better than I was at that age.
And it was really important to me to really be able in my own way to take notes, to be able take a note, and to be aware of what was going on in the song.
Jason’s dad was a guitar teacher in France and I remember playing a little jazz band in Paris and the first few weeks we were there, the teachers would come over and pick up the instruments and they would just say, “Hey, you’re gonna have to learn the guitar.
You gotta learn the saxophone.
You’ll have to practice the trumpet.
You’re gonna need to practice all these other instruments.
“And so, I would practice on the guitar, and the teachers were really happy with it.
So it was kind of like, I got into it, and after that, it was pretty good.
And the teachers said, I don’t want you to try this, I want you just to learn to play the guitar and the trumpet, and you can learn all these things you’re supposed to learn, but you can just learn the other instruments and learn how they work.
And so I just went on and I tried it and I got better at it, really.
And later on I learned how to practice on guitar and I learned to do trumpet and I started playing the sax and I did that and I really loved it