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Staff Sgt. Malachi Cannon, motor transport operations chief, 7th Marine Regiment, has been in the Marine Corps for twelve years. He performs at the Combat Centers’ Christ Chapel on Sundays. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock

What I’ve Learned: Malachi Cannon

16 Jul 2015 | Lance Cpl. Connor Hancock Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Cannon has been in the Marine Corps for twelve years. He performs at the Combat Centers’ Christ Chapel on Sundays.

I started playing the drums when I was five, after my parents bought me my first drum set. I played in church growing up and I joined the Marine Corps at age nineteen where I’ve continued to play.

I taught myself how to play. I banged all my drum sets to pieces, but in the process I ended up progressing and buying better equipment.

I’ve been with motor transportation with the task of refueling aircrafts for most of my time in the Marine Corps.

When I went on MSG duty in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Africa, from 2007 to 2010, I realized I needed something that felt like home. That’s when I started buying individual pieces for my new drum kit.

In Africa, I was also able to find some traditional percussion instruments. Along with the kit, I ended up getting a djembe, a traditional African drum, and a set of congas.

While I was overseas, playing the drums helped me focus on enjoying my alone time but I prefer playing with other musicians.

Playing music with other Marines definitely brought some camaraderie to the workplace. Marines who have a musical background or have the ability to play have a comfort when they’re away from home. It helps them relieve stress.

Being away from family, and missing holidays and birthdays, I relied on playing music to bring me happiness while overseas.

I grew up on Gospel music and focus on it because it brings positive energy to my life. I think listening to the music was the catalyst in developing my faith.

Music can pull on your emotions and feelings. It can bring joy, encouragement, strength, or anything depending on what you’re looking for.

Anyone who plays music has an outlet to release emotion. Whether it’s relieving stress by playing angrily, or playing because you’re having a good day, it’s all positive. It can change your mood.

I don’t see playing the drums as an aspiration to make money, but as something I can pass onto my kids.

My wife and I plan on having at least two children. If they want to learn how to play, I’d let them beat on the drums until they break.

Musical instruments are valuable because they’re tangible memories that you can pass on. An instrument has the potential to become an heirloom.

Making music is something that’s always been a part of my life. I don’t only look at it as a way to relieve stress but rather something that brings me joy.

My advice is: Whatever your outlet is in life, make sure it’s positive. Share it with other people and it might help them with their situation.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms