Teaches Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Teaching since 1988
Percussion Performance, BMA Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University
Private Steel Drums Teacher
I have played Pan for 26 years and love to help others learn how fantastic the instrument can be!
I have a Percussion Performance Degree from Arizona State University, have authored over 6 books on how to play better including: ART Approach to Keyboard Percussion Sightreading, ART Approach to Rhythm!, Turn It Up & Lay It Down, The Book (with Joe Bergamini and Spence Strand) I have over 26 years
Teaching since 1980
Teaches students 3 and up
Private Steel Drums Teacher
A modern pan is a chromatically pitched percussion instrument made from 55 gallon industrial drums that formerly contained chemicals. The pan is struck using a pair of straight sticks tipped with rubber; the size and type of rubber tip varies according to the class of pan being played. The student will learn the basics of notes,
reading, rhythms, how to play songs, theory and improvisation.
Hi! My name is Karen D. I’ve had the pleasure of performing, singing, writing, and recording since I was seven years old. Besides being an Honor Graduate of Berklee School of Music, I have been a lifelong student of the international world-renowned instructors Dante Pavone and Charlie Banacos.
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The steel drums, also more formally referred to as steelpans, originated in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The instrument's origins are deeply rooted in the island's history and culture. The original steel bands (mostly comprised of pannists playing frying pans, oil drums, and trash can lids) emerged in response to restrictions the French placed on slaves during the late 18th century.
Steelpan playing became a traditional part of the nation's Canboulay celebration. In 1941, the U.S. navy arrived on the island and steel drum music became popular with soldiers. Eventually, calypso music became popularized in the United States thanks to musicians like Harry Belafonte and Calypso Rose. Today, steel drums' bouncy, light sounds are strongly associated with the Car
ibbean region, island culture, and calypso music.
Why Learn to Play Steel Drums?
The Steel drums are often associated with the light-hearted, airy sounds of calypso music. However breezy and playful this genre of music might seem, with a closer listen it often communicates deeper, more serious themes in its lyrics. As a result, learning steel drums isn't a light pursuit. You'll be able to play happy-sounding music, but will also become a part of a long and meaningful tradition of pannists.
Learning to play steel drums, you'll also have the opportunity to make friends while playing alongside other steelpan players in a steel band. Since it's the most commonly played single steelpan, you'll likely begin learning on a tenor steel drum. Once you get comfortable, however, you can master a wider range of steel drums to fill out any opening in a steel band.
The Best Way to Learn Steel Drums and What'll You'll Study in Classes
It's easy to find free steel drums classes online, but if you want to learn to play steel drums fast, then you should sign up for private steel drums lessons. With a private steel drums tutor, you'll receive immediate feedback, overcome challenges quickly, and avoid developing any detrimental bad habits early on. Plus, private teachers completely customize lessons to keep students motivated, interested, and learning at a comfortable pace.
With your own tutor, no two private lessons are exactly alike. Your tutor will customize course content to your interests and provide teaching materials that are appropriate for your skill level. For example, steel drums lessons for children differ in terms of content and teaching methods from adult steel drums classes.
Sample Curriculum for Beginner Steel Drums Classes
If you have little or no previous experience playing steel drums, then beginner lessons are right for you. You'll be introduced to your instrument, mallets, and all the techniques you need to start learning how to play steel drums. In beginner courses, your tutor might choose to cover the following topics:
- Proper stance, drum height, and elbow position
- Learn how to grip your mallets
- Identifying notes on your steel drums
- Learn how to care for your steel drums
- Introduction to reading musical notation and beginner music theory
Sample Curriculum for Learning Intermediate Steel Drums
If you already have some familiarity with steel drums, music theory, and reading musical notation, then you'll feel at-home in intermediate lessons. You continue to develop your skills and improve your techniques, as you challenge yourself to learn increasingly complex music. Your steel drums teacher might choose to cover the following topics:
- Learn the piston (down-up) stroke and flick
- Learn to roll and create smooth rolls
- Play through scales
- Understanding the cycle of fourths and fifths
Sample Curriculum for Studying Advanced Steel Drums
Advanced lessons are intended for students who've already achieved a high level of proficiency playing steel drums and a thorough understanding of music theory. In advanced lessons, you'll have the opportunity to work with a professional to further hone your skills and expand your range of technical abilities. Topics studied in advanced lessons depend greatly on the individual student's interests and goals for playing steel drums, but your teacher might choose to cover the following topics:
- Practice and improve sight-reading
- Tuning your steel drums
- Playing in a steel band
- Audition coaching and performance preparation
How to Find a Steel Drums Teacher Near You
Finding a steel drum teacher is easy on TakeLessons. A quick search will direct you to a long list of educated, experience, and highly qualified teachers who offer lessons both online and in-person. We recommend reading several teacher profiles and reviews left by other steel drums students before choosing the teacher who's right for you.
The price of steel drums lessons varies, but most tutors base rates on the length and frequency of lessons. Even if you're concerned about the cost, you should be able to find a steel drums tutor who offers lessons at a rate that'll fit into your budget. Plus, investing in private lessons will pay off right away, as you pick up new concepts quickly and start playing real music on the steel drums after your very first lesson!