Steel pans (steel drums) can be found in schools and universities around the world and their numbers are increasing. More and more persons are discovering that steel pans make great classroom instruments. Using steel pans in education is a good idea!
They are approachable instruments
They allow for group participation as well as solo work
The technique used to play pan is the same for all sections of the steelband (unlike other bands and orchestras)
Any genre of music can be played on the steel pan (not just calypsos)
Pan Round the Neck steel pans can be integrated into marching bands. The YouTube video below of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Band is an example of how this can be done.
You can also integrate beginner/mini steel pans (steel drums) into an existing Orff Schulwerk ensemble.
These special steel pans are smaller and have fewer notes than a professional steel pan. However, the note placements in these beginner steel pans have not been standardized, so make sure to tell your steel pan supplier which notes you want in the pan.
Also, the quality of these beginner/mini pans varies. Some are toys (and sound like toys) while some are small, fully functional instruments. Your situation will determine which type is suitable.
Steel pans can be played solo as well as in an ensemble. Graded examinations in Solo Steel Pan Performance are held in the United States of America and throughout the Caribbean and are an excellent external assessment of a student’s strengths and weaknesses. They also provide the student with a sense of progress and achievement.
For more information, click here
There are several online stores that specialize in musical arrangements and compositions for the steelband. For more information click here
You can also check out the useful list of pan books and literature at Pan-Jumbie.com