Matt Butler

Butler, Matt

Conductor, Drummer and Community Catalyst

Matt Butler is the founder and conductor of The Everyone Orchestra.

My personal practice is…

Running in the morning or doing yoga at some point during the day.

How did you discover your practice?

 I’ve been an avid Tennis player all my life but haven’t been in a routine with playing for many years. A year ago my wife signed the family up to run a 5K race together and ever since I have been running regularly. I never thought I would be a runner as I had knee problems during my tennis career in college. I have found though, that when I pace correctly and build stamina with distance that running is a great way for me to start my day, get my blood pumping and brain working.

Why do you practice?

I like to alternate between running and Yoga as the two activities make my body and mind feel great.

I find that I have more abundant joy and optimism to share with the world. In my work this is important!

How frequently and for how long do you practice?

 Five to six days a week for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

What’s something that gets in the way of your practice and how to you move through it?

I find it hard to keep up my practice when I travel, and I travel quite a bit.  Running through the streets of cities that I don’t know isn’t the most relaxing thing for me, although when there is a park or bike trail that is accessible to my hotel or venue I love it. I do morning Yoga on the road more than anything though. I have a whole yoga workout on my iPhone that I follow or I simply put my self though a number of poses.

What supports you in staying committed to your practice?  

 My wife. Mirrors and scales. I set goals in my Lifebook and track my progress…sometimes it is distance or weight or just a goal of accomplishing so many workouts in a period of time. I like to reward myself too. A piece of new clothing that fits my fit body is just that. Also, reminding myself that any day I work out is better than a day when I don’t. It’s just so true. I am HAPPIER when I work out.

What role does your practice play in your work?

I’m a performer and feeling fit in my mind and body gives me confidence to perform at my highest level. In Everyone Orchestra I conduct/produce group improvisation. I employ unorthodox tools such as dry erase boards to communicate key changes to my musicians. I also vibe the music as it is being created by dancing while I conduct and as the show develops, more and more musicians begin to react to my body movements and dance moves. It’s a bit hard to explain…but my practice helps me move my body with more control and confidence and the music has gotten better because of it.

Describe someone you know whose practice inspires you.  

Bobby McFerrin. Bobby inspires me because he is one of the most grounded, talented and empowering people I have ever met and made music with. He has both the ability to inspire through his musical talent and also draw talent and expression out of others by encouraging them to sing and express themselves. His practice and motto of “Sing for your life” is simple, true and worth adopting.

A practice I’d like to explore is…

Daily meditation. Learning a new instrument. Yoga Teacher Training.

Anything else you’d like to share about practice.  

To me life is about the journey towards my goals. While I really want to attain my goals, I want to be happy and fulfilled along the way. My practice is simple and currently serving me well in feeling this way. And while I call it MY practice, my wife and I run a lot together and it is definitely OUR practice which is an added bonus  as it enriches our relationship while serving our own “practice” needs.

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