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Steel Band Start-Ups

Steel Band Start-Ups

Greetings! It’s been a while since my last post.  A little crazy here right now!  So, recently, I’ve been involved with several discussions on Facebook about the status of pan performance in the US.  This has led to so many other topics, such as where to get pans, how to teach, and what pan players […]

Reading Music

Reading Music

Mark Loquan, the creator of the following video, is devoted to helping pan players from Trinidad learn to read music.  If you don’t know, music is taught exclusively by rote in Trinidad.  It is truly amazing what the Panorama bands are able to play and perform all from memory.  What might be more impressive is […]

Do I need my pan tuned?

Do I need my pan tuned?

I get this question every time I announce that a tuner will be in town:  "Do I need to get my pan tuned?"  This is a very easy question to answer: YES.   OK, I'll elaborate.  Basically, I get my pans tuned every opportunity I have.  No matter how many times they've been tuned, and […]

Soca 101? Almost!

Soca 101? Almost!

So, today, a good friend of mine and fellow pan player, Ryan Elwood, shared a link with me which I will include at the bottom of this blog. It is from the NPR website: The Mix, 75 essential Soca Hits.  This is a very cool link and website, but not without flaw. I realize that […]

Steel Pan or Steel Drum

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, […]

Tips for Pan Teachers

Tips for Pan Teachers

This is one of my recent discoveries that I really love.  OK, I might be overselling this, but it is a tip that has made things easier for me and helped my students.  First, I’m curious:  How many of you teachers have all your pans labeled with the note names?  I’ve gone back and forth […]

Sheet Music for Steel Band

Sheet Music for Steel Band

When I started Rocky Mountain Steel Bands in 2003, I only had one or two of my own music arrangements.  I began searching for arrangements to purchase because I thought other people, with more arranging experience, would probably do a much better job than I. Quickly, I realized that simply because someone has published music […]

Great, Old Video of Ray Holman

Great, Old Video of Ray Holman

Many of my students had the opportunity to meet and work with Ray Holman a few weeks ago at the Pan Ramajay Steel Drum Festival.  I thought they would get a kick out of this old video of Ray Holman.  He is such an incredible musician and person.  I hope you enjoy! In the weeks […]

Hooked on Steel Drums

Hooked on Steel Drums

I’ve listened to hundreds of people tell me how they started playing steel drums.  Some got their first listen on a cruise ship, some are Parrot Heads, and others were reluctantly dragged to a friend’s steel band concert.  What’s funny is that they all end the same way, "…and then I was hooked!"  I think […]

Free Download, Major Scales

Free Download, Major Scales

I know, you didn’t start playing steel drums so you could play all your major scales, right?  I know, I get it, but there is a reason all of us music teachers make you play them: scales really help you get a feel for your instrument and play ALL the notes. Also — here is […]

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