How to start playing handpan on the street (part 1)

Handpan player Malte Marten in Lindau

Dear handpan friends,

today I would like to give you a little insight into my experience as a street musician. Since the first hours I spent with my handpan I was sure: I want to share this instrument with other people. Not only the sound, but also the appearance and the whole effect of the handpan had such an attractive and mystical effect on me that it didn't take long until I really dared to play it in front of others.

The first time on the street
The first time I sat with a friend in a small pedestrian zone in Berlin Schöneberg in front of a café - at that time I was already very grateful to her for the impulse to sit down with me on the street, because alone it would probably have taken a few more weeks or months until I would have dared to do it.
And since that moment it was love on first sight. I got up, had breakfast and went off to sit on the street and play for people all day. I continued for months, if I remember correctly even for a few years.

Facing the unknown and overcome your fear
What makes playing on the street so special for me is that it gives me an uncanny sense of freedom and connectedness. Not only with my environment, but especially with myself. No place or activity has ever mirrored me myself as clearly and unambiguously as making music on the street. Initially, I was strongly confronted with enduring looks that I perceived as negative or disapproving. While it was the most beautiful thing in the world for me to play handpan, it was also filled with a lot of prejudice to put myself out on the street.

Over the weeks and months, I developed a very special relationship with my new life. My handpan was always on my shoulders even when I went shopping. Even if I was only waiting 2 minutes for the next subway, I would take my handpan out of my bag and play. For me and for the people. I just lived to let my hands fly over my handpan. Here a picture of me playing handpan in the metro station Berlin Turmstraße while waiting for the subway, 2014.Handpan player Malte Marten in metro station

And so my life changed more and more in a direction I had always wanted. The shy, insecure Malte became a person who dared to look into the dark corners of himself - to press on all the points that hurt, because small and big injuries lie underneath. Through this I began to feel myself, to get to know myself. And that is the street music for me - personal development and inner growth.

Often we are asked where we learned to play. Whether we had teachers or watched videos. My answer is always: I learned it on the street.


Thank you for being part of our handpan journey! See you soon, Malte.