Steel Pan (Steel Drums)
Information, Tips and Advice

WELCOME! to your one-stop steel pan (steel drums) information site! Whether you are new, an experienced pannist or simply curious about the instrument, this site is a great place to find valuable and relevant information.

Facts about this new musical instrument can be hard to find. There are only a few online sources of information. As a music educator and performer, I have been asked on countless occasions for information on all aspects of the instrument.

This site is my response. It includes answers to the most frequently asked questions and also provides some additional tips.

No matter your level of experience, I'm sure you will find information to help your playing or appreciation of this fascinating instrument.


stylized pans

They are musical instruments created in the Caribbean island republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930’s.

They belong to the percussion family of instruments (instruments that are struck or shaken), are made from 55 gallon (oil) drums and come in a variety of musical ranges.

When played collectively, they are called a steelband (steel drum band) and persons who play them are called pannists.


Both terms are used to describe the same instrument. This may seem confusing but it is an accepted inconsistency in the steelband (steel drum band) world.

The development of this instrument was very informal and involved many persons working independently of each other. This led to the same or very similar instruments having different names. Significant progress has been made in the standardization of the instrument but some inconsistencies still remain.

The most popular name for the instrument is 'steel pans' or 'pans' for short. It is the name used in the Caribbean and in academic circles.

The name 'steel drums' is not as popular and is used mostly in the United States of America.

So… is it a 'steel pan' or a 'steel drum'? You decide.

I hope you find this site useful. I welcome your feedback.

Making Steel Drums (Steel Pans), an Overview of the Manufacture and Tuning
See the amazing process of making Steel Drums (Steel Pans). Learn how an empty metal drum is transformed into a functional musical instrument.
Steel Drum History (The History of the Steel Pan)
Find informative articles and books on Steel Drum History (History of Steel Pan)
Steel Pan Photo Gallery (Steel Drum Pictures)
Do you have a great steel pan photo! Tell us your story. We want to hear about your best, worst and funniest experiences
Free Steel Drum / Steel Pan Sheet Music
Thank you for supporting this website. Download free steel drum (steel pan) sheet music.
The Steel Pan Family (Steel Drum Family)
Discover the different instruments of the steel pan family (steel drums) and the roles they play in a steelband (steel drum band).
How to Play Steel Drums (Steel Pans)
Learn to play steel drums (steel pans). Get basic technique and tips on how to refine your playing.
Steel Drum Music / Steel Pan Music Listening Library
Listen to steel pan music ( steel drum music ) from a variety of genres. Any style of music can be played on the steel pan ( steel drum).
How to Start a Steelband (Steel Drum Band)
Get informative tips and suggestions on how to start a steelband.
Types of Steelbands (Steel Drum Bands)
Most people are familiar with conventional steelbands but there are actually two types of steelbands (Steel Drum Bands). Read more on this topic.
Parts of the Steel Pan (Steel Drums)
All members of the steel pan family of instruments (steel drums) have the same three parts, skirt, belly and notes. Learn more about their role.
How To Transport a Steelband (Steel Drum Band)
Tips on how to safely transport a steelband, how to pack a steelband into a truck, steel pan cases and more.
How To Care Steel Pans (Steel Drums)
It is relatively easy to protect and care steel pans. The main thing to remember is they are fragile. Here are a few tips.
Steel Drum Festivals (Steel Pan Festivals) and Competitions
Jazz, calypso, classical music, read about the most popular steel drum festivals (steel pan festivals) and competitions.
Recent Steel Pan Innovations (Steel Drum Innovations)
An overview of steel pan innovations from around the world.
Steel Pans in Education (Steel Drums in Education)
Steel pans make excellent classroom instruments. Find out how to use steel pans in education programs.
Steel Pan (Steel Drums) Blog
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Contact Us - Steel Pan (Steel Drums)
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Who Is Steel Pan (Steel Drums)
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Unique Steel Pan Gifts (Steel Drums Gifts) Clothes and Accessories.
A wide assortment of unique steel pan gifts (steel drums gifts) clothes, accessories.
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