Steel Pan or Steel Drum

Steel Pan or Steel Drum?

What should you call your instrument, steel drums or steel pans?  You may have even heard "steel pan drums" or even just "pans." All these different names are correct, but there is a slight distinction.  The biggest, and most important factor is that in Trinidad, where the instrument was invented, they say pan or steel pan.  In America, and many other places around the world, they often use the term steel drum.

A friend from Trinidad and Tobago once told me that they start as 55 gallon oil drums, but once it has been hand crafted, they call it a pan.  I like this explanation; I think it reflects the time, craftsmanship, and talent the the pan builder put into his craft and reminds people this isn’t just some "trash can" that you hit.  It requires hundreds of hours of skilled labor to build a pan, and they deserve respect for their efforts, not the least of which is the right to name their instrument — PAN.

By now, some of you are glancing at the title bar and thinking I’m a pretty big hypocrite, right?  Well, my passion is to teach people how to perform.  I don’t want someone to miss out because they can’t find me online.  Once they find me, like you have, I can begin the education. 🙂  

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