Christian Ryan

Saxophonist/Flutist • Performer • Arranger • Instructor

Being a Sober Musician

This is a topic I've been meaning to publicly discuss for a while now.  As many of you know, I am practically a straight edge person.  Despite being in what some may consider the prime of their lives, going on 23 years old, I do not partake in any sort of drug use.  

I have never drank an alcoholic beverage, smoked any sort of substance, nor do I drink anything with caffeine or take prescription drugs (unless something life threatening is needed).  Keep in mind, I am not only a musician, but I was also raised in a family who owned a bar.  I am very much the outlier in my demographic.  Why you ask? 

Okay...that's not the full truth!  

I hold a belief that the human mind (and body for that matter) is capable of doing astronomical things, and every thing it needs to do can be done naturally, especially if it is treated well.  If you truly set your mind to any task, it can be accomplished!  All you have to do is make it happen.

I also take my performances very seriously and believe the stage wherever it may be, is a sacred place and I owe the music (and listeners) the upmost respect to give it my all at every show.  If I have a sub par performance, I don't want any crutches or excuses to fall back on.  After all, you are truly only as good as your last performance!  

Some hold the notion that their senses and abilities are heightened after taking certain drugs or they are necessary in order to play at their full potential.   Let's face it, that's been going on since the history of live performance. 

Here's some fine examples of musical sobriety to counteract that notion of Clifford Brown and Frank Zappa:

All this being said, I am not against the use of any substance one chooses to undergo.  As long as they aren't inflicting harm to others, are in a safe environment and hopefully know the possible consequences for their actions if they aren't, I could care less.  For many, certain forms are stress relievers and even healers, and I'm not out to convert people away from how they choose to enjoy themselves.  All I ask, is that you respect my lifestyle and I'll respect yours. 

For those musicians out there reading this, I encourage you to see what's it like in my shoes.  There's always plenty of time to party after the set.  In fact, for those in the St. Pete/Tampa area here is an event you can try.  

Thanks for reading!