“How quickly can I learn the steel pan?”

How quickly can I learn the steel pan?

I get this question all the time. The answer really varies. After answering this question time after time, I’ve learned that it really means this, "will I be successful?"  This is a much easier question to answer. The easy answer is yes, if you practice.  But let’s dig a little deeper.

Here are the 3 keys to success:

Practice. This should be obvious, but if you are willing to put in quality practice time you WILL BE successful. This doesn’t mean you need marathon, 3-hour practice sessions, just to play your scales. It just means that you are willing to put in enough time to learn some skills, a few songs, and start building your confidence!
Consistency. Even more important than the total amount of time you practice is making sure it’s consistent. 10 minutes a day is WAY better than an hour on Saturday. Doing something for just a little while every day helps you learn it more quickly. The best way to do this is to leave your pan somewhere accessible. If it’s in your living room where you spend your time, you’ll play it more often.
Previous Experience. I put this one last to de-emphasize it.  If you’ve played piano or violin for 12 years, picking up the steel drum will be very easy. If you’re a raw beginner, don’t worry. The majority of my adult students have never played any music before and they are doing just fine! Your experience only dictates how quickly you’ll be come proficient.
So, there’s no reason you won’t be successful. Also, no reason that you shouldn’t get started right now. Go for it! You’ll be happy you did.

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