We had the good fortune of connecting with Benjamin Irons and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Benjamin, why did you pursue a creative career?
Like most Americans, the first examination of a potential career path came about when exploring higher education options. My parents both work in science-based careers. One is a medical doctor, the other a high school chemistry and biology teacher. I have a pension for physics and considered applying to pre-med programs. I also applied to study cryptology at a private military institution. However, the arts won out. I’ve been involved with music since a young age. I began on piano, then switched to drums and percussion. My dad always had music playing around the house: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Spin Doctors, and Rush were in constant rotation. Initially, I went into an Instrumental Performance program because I was awarded a substantial out-of-state scholarship. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I loved music for one simple reason: it was the first thing I found challenging. I loved the idea of pursuing a career with no limit to its mastery. I’ve played this situation out in my mind countless times: Colleague: “Hey, Ben. Are you going to practice marimba* today?” Me: “Nope. I’ve finished. There’s nothing left. I’ve played every piece in every key at every tempo in every style at every dynamic. There’s nothing left.” *Note: marimba is a large, low octave xylophone (with a much mellower tone) which is a universal platform of formal percussion programs in universities to learn melodic and harmonic structure. That will never, never happen. We’ll never be done. You can always push the limit on speed, fluidity, volume, etc. And for some reason, I find that comforting. On the rare occasion that you meet someone who feels they have nothing left to learn in their field, I find that type of person extremely suspicious. They’re going to miss out on so many incredible chances to hone their craft. As I’ve evolved beyond my formal music training to my private practice in sound therapy, I see the same intriguing and boundless opportunities in the realm of “sound healing” that first drew me to the arts. I’m completely fascinated by every facet of the practice: the culture, science, acoustics, history, spirituality, and mysticism. I’ll never be “done.” I think waking up each morning knowing there’s still something to discover has been extremely beneficial to my well-being.

What should our readers know about your business?
I use sound and vibration as preventative wellness for stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, fear, anger, and trauma. As vibrational and energetic beings, we all have a natural frequency. Just like a musical instrument, our bodies fall out of tune through everyday use and abuse (physical injury, emotional distress, and trauma). Himalayan singing bowls, gongs, tingsha, drums, and even the voice may be used to naturally bring the body back into harmony through vibrational therapy. I integrate Atma Buti® Sound Therapy techniques to open, energize, harmonize, align, and balance your body’s natural vibration restoring homeostatic wellness. I’m extremely proud of the various disciplines involved in my practice. I have to be well-versed in science, anatomy and physiology, energy medicine, meditation, psychology, and Eastern cultural practices. I have to be fluent in several “languages.” At any given moment, I’m answering questions for medical professionals, musicians, or those with a more “new age” lexicon. I specialize, of course, in the percussion aspect: proper technique, tone production, history, instrument knowledge and selection, and safe practices for utilizing percussion instruments as wellness tools. I love that I will constantly be expanding my knowledge throughout my career. There will always be more to learn and incorporate to provide the best possible experience for my clients. Common misconceptions and scrutiny about my field only further motivate me to lead the industry in high-integrity wellness practices. When you work with skeptics there’s very little room for ineptitude.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Main hangs and must see’s: The Music Instrument Museum (MIM). I’ve never spent less than 7 hours there. It’s a true Phoenix treasure. The Desert Botanical Garden. Japanese Friendship Garden. Topgolf. Primarily, just finding a spot to be outside and soak up some Vitamin D. Food! Phoenix is long overdue for credit as a hub for consistent culinary creativity. Here’s what fuels me: -La Grande Orange, commuter sandwich with salmon and avocado -Chelsea’s Kitchen, chicken nachitos followed by keylime pie with strawberry sorbet -The Windsor, for cocktails and heavier homestyle favorites (ribs and burgers) -Parlor, Duck Club followed by my all-time favorite tiramisu and a french press of coffee -North Italia, chicken parmesan ecstasy -AZ88, Lemondrop martinis, Burger au Poivre II, or AZ88 Buffalo Chicken sandwich -Olive & Ivy, lamb gyro, bacon-wrapped dates, there are no poor options -Pane Bianco, the genius of simplicity in a well-crafted sandwich like the soppressata -Barrio Queen, Mole. And margaritas. But really though, the mole. -Hanny’s for cocktails, flatbread, and off-menu chocolate mousse -Green and Nami, when you need to feel satisfied and healthy

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A critical component of a Mindful lifestyle is cultivating a healthy “sangha,” or your community of positive influences. I have the best of the best behind me: My parents, whose diverse knowledge and support have been paramount to my growth and success. My Atma Buti® teachers: Master Suren Shrestha and Maria Pertile. My percussion teachers & coaches: Dr. Steven Hemphill, Bill Wanser, Matt Howard, and Naoko Takada. Dinesh Joseph at Dragonfly Percussion, for his enthusiasm and creative actualization of the Resonance Series mallets for sound healers. Rain Gray, of iSingingBowls, for his knowledge, expertise, and encouragement in my exploration and incorporation of Himalayan Singing Bowls into an energetic healing practice. All my students, clients, and colleagues for their trust and support. Every class, workshop, question, text, conversation, and sound therapy session provides deeper insight into our existential authenticity.

Website: www.zenwithben.me
Instagram: @zenwithben
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zenwithben/
Twitter: @zenwben
Facebook: www.facebook.com/zenwben
Youtube: Zen with Ben
Other: Patreon: www.patreon.com/zenwben Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com/zenwithben SoundCloud: @zenwben

Image Credits
B. Irons, K. Ferrari, A. Leonhardt, K. McGivern

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