Dan Ryker

Dan Ryker is a performing musician and a private music instructor.

New Song Preview (Turns to Gold)

It’s been great in this last season to have time to focus on my own music more. I started my first new song of 2017 when my wife and I were in Hawaii and she suggested I go with an island or reggae feel. I think it feels good. Here is just an acoustic preview.

It also feels good to be finally getting around to another gig. So, if you’re catching this post before Friday (2/24/17), then come hang out at Imagine Coffee at 7PM. I’ll be playing this song as well as some other new material.


It’s good to stop and evaluate priorities every once in a while. It’s so easy to stay busy just doing what’s in front of you. But are they the best thing to be investing in? Maybe they were the best thing in the last season, but is that still the case? Everyone’s answer will be different. We all have different interests, skills, and goals.

I recently did some reevaluating and realized there are some things that I really care about, but haven’t gotten to in a long time. So I made some steps to simplify life a bit, and have been feeling the difference this last month.

I have finally gotten the chance to play some of my own music again! I had several good practice sessions over the last couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to being able to book a show pretty soon. I’ve changed several songs to piano instead of guitar. I think they sound really good that way and will bring some more variety to sets. But it also created some technical problems with how to trigger loops and effects. I think the geeky tech stuff is behind me now and I can just focus on the music. Yay!

Life Limitations

I'm working on a new song and the following thoughts are at the core of it. My options in life have been limited by being visually impaired. It's tempting to be frustrated by that, but I like the place my life has led me to, and the person i have become. I would not have made the same life decisions if I were not visually impaired, and so maybe I'm thankful that my options were limited by blindness. Does being blind mean that I cannot accomplish as much in life? It's easy to answer that with a 'yes', but if I think about it a little longer, I say 'no'. My palette for life accomplishments is more limited, but the heights to which I can excel within my palette have no limits. And since I enjoy the tonal spectrum of my palette, then I have no reason to complain. But what if my life had been limited to a palette I didn't like? I believe every spectrum has deep beauty and that we can learn to find that beauty if we approach it with eyes to see it. It's a wonderful idea to imagine that every possibility is available to us in life. But in reality, we will not excel in every area. We excel when we focus our attention. If life circumstances do some of that focusing for us, then that is not a bad thing. We just need to welcome the direction of that focus. It's not being limited by life circumstances, it's being focused more in a certain direction. Yes, some of life's limitations or struggles are harder than others. But, they really do help to shape us into stronger, better people if we receive them with a right attitude. The goal in life is not to avoid difficulties, it's to respond the right way to the challenges that arise.

The Talent Code

Since I finished this book last week, I’ve been telling everyone about it, and applying it to everything. It’s called “The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill In Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything” by Daniel Coyle. It basically looks at really talented people from all different segments of society and asks why they are awesome. It can’t be just because they are naturally gifted, because you find ‘talent hotbeds’ where an inordinate number of highly talented people emerge. So it digs deeper and studies the common factors among all these ‘talent hotbeds’ and lays these discoveries out it in revelatory fashion. As a musician, who wishes he could be a lot better, this book is inspiring and enlightening. As a music educator, it is full of golden nuggets and perspective. As a parent, desiring to help my kids become awesome at whatever they set their minds to, it’s hugely valuable. And I even got some fantastic revelation about God from it today as I was praying with a friend.

I highly recommend this book to pretty much anyone. But especially if you are a musician, athlete, or parent. … or if you want to become ‘highly talented’ in some way.

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