Ryan Van Poederooyen
Growing up in a musical family in British Columbia, Ryan van Poederoyeen gravitated naturally towards the drums. From the very beginning, he was intrigued with visualising and drawing out his dreams and desires with his drumming career. Having made a name for himself on the music scene in Vancouver before Devin Townsend recruited Ryan to first his Band then Project.
Now a leading drummer on the prog metal scene, Ryan tells us about his mental approach to the physical demands of his instrument. A strong believer in visualisation concepts and positive thinking, he shares with Rhythm the importance of attitude and conditioning that is required to pull off the challenging Devin Townsend gig.
Positive mental approach
“When I was growing up, my father and mother were very persistent in correcting me and telling me to always be positive and tell me to say, ‘I can do it,’ believe you can do it and go out and do it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get it every time, but your chances will always increase.
“If you fail, learn from your faults. Don’t just look at it as a failure. There’s always some gold in failure as long as you’re willing to look for it. That’s how it started, when I was young, seven or eight.”
Visualise your goals
“I remember being at rehearsals with the various bands I was in, I would close my eyes when I was drumming and visualise playing in front of 50,000 people at huge festivals in Europe or playing headlining shows around the world. Those things are now happening. I would visualise those things daily when I was at my day job. I was promoting myself, playing in different bands, opening as many doors as I could.
“You can’t sit on your couch or in front of your computer dreaming, you have to work for it. You have to open many doors and go in many different directions. Never put all your eggs in one basket thinking that’s how you’re going to achieve your goals. Not everything is always going to come true but it’s pretty amazing how many things do come true with this approach.
“You have to be careful as it can work both ways. If you’re thinking negatively and visualising negative things, all that bad stuff can materialise. I’ve had too many visualised dreams and goals come true working with this approach for me to believe that it doesn’t work. Think and speak positively, visualise what you want, believe, be grateful for what you have and work hard towards what you want out of life. What you think about, you bring about.”
“I played in different bands, rock, pop and metal, to diversify myself. Once my name started getting out there, I looked into session work. I went to the studios in Vancouver and told them to give me a chance and I would do a session for free, but if I nailed it, they would have to call me back for more work.
"Another thing to get my name out there was to teach drums, at first privately, then through a music store. I put my hands in so many pots in the music industry in Vancouver that by the time Devin went to look for a new drummer, and asked various musicians, engineers and producers around town, my name kept coming up. This was after nine years of working to establish myself. It all came from taking that action, visualising, staying positive and believing in myself.”