Jan has been taking classical piano lessons since childhood and discovered his passion for composing his own pieces from an early age. His music is significantly influenced by numerous trips to Asia and tells the stories of many mystical and meditative experiences he had there.

Another of Jan’s passions is martial arts. As a child, he began training in the so-called outer styles, later adding inner styles such as Qi Gong, Taoist meditation and Tai Chi.

He has now been running a martial arts school near Cologne in Germany for many years. Even though competition is not Jan’s main goal, some of his students have participated in competitions and have become national, international and even world champions. Although Jan “teaches”, he always describes himself as a student: “Those who follow this path never stop learning.

Many years ago – on a trip to Asia – Jan discovered the wonderful sounds of these unique instruments. Through numerous coincidences and coincidences (and meeting the right people in the right place at the right time), the opportunity arose to pick up the hammer myself. He still does this with great enthusiasm and dedication today.

“I love building these instruments and getting into the concentrated space that is required. The metal always gives very honest feedback, it has its own spirit and is like a mirror for me. I don’t try to impose my will on the instrument while I’m building it, but to follow what wants to emerge. “

Unique hand pans, handmade in Germany

So, staying focused or taking breaks, staying relaxed, that’s very important.

Accompanying this process from the very beginning, after thousands of hammer blows, is an incredibly rewarding experience. I can hardly describe in words how emotional and loving people are when they receive their Taopan handpans after they are finished.

Completing this cycle always makes me forget the long and hard work that has gone into each individual instrument.

– Jan Tao

Taopan Workshop