Dr. Morwood, Professional Working Jazz Drummer
Jazz fans at the Hyatt Regency Monterey are often surprised to learn that the drummer in the jazz combo they’ve been enjoying all evening in the Fireplace Lounge is also one of the Monterey Peninsula’s foremost plastic surgeons with his own practice.
Dr. David Morwood may have more than 20 years experience as a plastic surgeon, but his musical roots run much deeper. He first got hooked on music when his mother, a night shift nurse, taught him how to use the family’s record player and access their huge record collection. “It was like magic” he says about the first time he dropped a needle on a record and heard music fill the room. Dr. Morwood grew up with seven brothers and sisters; many of them sang and played guitar, and there was a piano in the living room. There was always music in the air, and on Sunday nights, the children had to perform something for the whole family to earn dessert.
He started playing the violin at age 4, started on bongos at age 5, adding pieces until he got a full drum set, played in a high school jazz band, then while attending the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, joined the drum and bugle corps and choir, traveling the world and playing everywhere from the White House to performing the National Anthem at NFL games.
Even when he attended medical school after the Navy, he continued to play jazz gigs to earn tuition money, and at times pondered making music a career. But surgery won out (after starting in pediatrics and trying his hand at internal medicine). He found that plastic surgery hit that sweet spot for him – he actually enjoyed it! “I’m lucky I found something I was good at, I enjoyed and it didn’t feel like work.” Dr Morwood finds that his artistic side is cultivated by his dedication to music and only nurtures his perspective and abilities as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Part of the reason Dr Morwood finds plastic surgery so rewarding is because of the need to think simultaneously as a scientist and an artist.
Dr Morwood often remarks that he feels so lucky and blessed to be doing what he loves to do. So often he feels that he has lived the almost perfect day: He gets to operate (“there is nothing like a great case in plastic surgery!”), work out at the gym ( “I’m an elliptical strider addict” ) then play a swingin’ jazz gig or get in a great drum practice session. Dr Morwood’s other passion, traveling, is often combined with his love of operating by taking overseas trips to operate on children with cleft lips and palates as part of a humanitarian mission to developing countries. For over 25 years Dr Morwood has traveled to many corners of the globe such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia, China, Africa and parts of the Middle East on these missions of mercy.
“As long as I get to keep doing what I love doing, I feel I won’t have to work a single day in my life!”