Buying a HandPan - And the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

Checking the completed listings section over at eBay today, revealed some purchases, that could arguably be thought of, as having been poorly considered.  eBay has always been a bit of a minefield, for those looking to purchase a Handpan, particularly for those newer to this world of singing steel. Though unlike others, we’re not going to shout at you in capital letters to, “STAY AWAY FROM EBAY!!!!” - partially, because there have always been some interesting offerings sold via the platform, once you have learned enough to side-step the worst of its wares (something that should become increasingly true, as the market evolves, and grows - with the influx of newer makers).  But also partially, because here at HPM, if we’re going to patronize your intelligence, we’re going to go the whole-hog, by comparing you to a small child, who can’t be trusted alone in a room for fifteen minutes, without giving in to the temptation, of stuffing your face with marshmallow.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (not to be confused with The Stanford Prison Experiment), was a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards (i.e., a larger later reward) if they waited for a short period, approximately 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned...

In days gone by (and perhaps still in some quarters), waiting for a period as long as five years or so, to obtain an instrument, was trumpeted by some Handpan seekers almost as a badge of honour - which is not something that we ever bought into here at HPM, unless out of necessity. But that said, a little patience can certainly go a long way, when searching for the right Handpan - especially when you consider, that right now, at this very moment, you find yourself within something very much comparable to an active live online "Stanford Handpan Experiment" - being conducted as you read - upon you.  

We feature a list of Handpan makers that now numbers over a hundred.  And then we also have links to auctions, and sales, that are more instantly gratifying. Neither path is necessarily the "correct" one, after all, the little girl munching away on her marshmallow in the video above, before the lady had ever left the room, appeared to very much enjoy it...

YouTube is your friend - there are now a huge number of Handpan videos over on the platform, and the more of them you listen to, from as many makers as possible - the more you'll be able to hear the differences, and nuances, of each.  If you are unable to tell the difference between THIS, and say, THIS, you are probably not yet ready, to be considering your first Handpan purchase.

If you feel like you need some guidance, there are now a whole bunch of Facebook groups where you'll most likely find others willing to offer advice. And if Facebook isn't your thing, there are other online forums too, outside of it. Including ours.

So, to end this post, we're going to offer you two contrasting views, the first: "Good things come to those who wait" - a common, and valuable English phrase extolling the virtue of patience.   And then, the considerably polar: "The trouble is, you think you have time", from Jack Kornfields, Buddha's Little Instruction Book. Because if there is one thing that is true of all things in life, it is that its's certainly possible; to wait too long.

© HandPans Magazine