10 Things you should know about the Steel Pan Instrument.

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1. The steel pan instrument was invented in the 1930’s in Trinidad and Tobago

 

2. The world’s largest steel pan was invented by Mr. Jumo Wahtuso Trinidad and Tobago and has been inducted in the Guinness World book of records. The instrument measures 104cm (3ft 4in) wide and 84cm (2ft 9in) tall. The width of its skirt is 18cm (7in).

 

3. The term crackshot in the steel pan industry is used to describe a steel pan player who plays the instrument to perfection.

 

4. There are different types of families a musical instrument belongs to, for example the violin is classified as part of the string family, the flute is part of the woodwind family, the trumpet is part of the brass family and the steel pan instrument is classified under the percussion family of instruments.

 

5. Panorama is the largest steel pan festival that happens once a year in the season of carnival.

 

6. The first steel pan Panorama festival was held in 1963 as part of the carnival festivities. 

 

7. Traditionally calypso music is performed on the steel pan during the Panomara festival but in the 2018 panorama we have seen a new trend of Soca music being played.

 

8. The fourths and fifths arrangement of notes for the tenor pan was designed by Anthony Williams. The notes have become the standard for the lead pan.

 

9. The Steel pan can be played with three or four pan sticks which is usually done by skilled steel pan professionals.

 

10. A pan stick is also refereed to as a mallet which is used to play the notes of the steel pan instrument to generate musical sound.

5 Reasons why learning Steel Pan as an adult is beneficial

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Learning to play steel pan or read music as an adult may seem like a difficult task, frustrating or near impossible. But really it’s far from the truth and in fact it’s a lot easier as they bring experience, focus and a willingness to learn as key advantages.  

It’s never too late to learn, you have not missed the train of music learning.

1. You already have an understanding of music

Adults have a higher level of understanding when it comes to music, understanding basic structures and abstract musical notations. Your ability to focus makes it considerably easy and faster to acquire steel pan music as oppose to kids where it takes a step by step approach to achieve musical learning ability.

2. Learning to play Steel Pan is a Choice – no one is forcing you.

While some kids feel compelled to play an instrument — either by their parents or their lofty goals, like entrance to a university. You are the masters of your own destiny. With your passion for choice of learning it increases your ability to learn faster.

3. Playing the Steel Pan is like a full workout for the body and the brain.

As in our last blog “6 benefits of Steel Pan (music)”, we sited that Steel Pan can give the brain a full workout and it’s the same for adults.  The memorizing of musical notations or even simply reading music keeps your brain active and starves off memory loss and dementia. It can also give the entire body a full physical workout by the hype of the music, the steel pan instrument you are playing and the coordinated rhythmic dancing of performers.

4. Playing Steel Pan relieves stress which is more valuable now than when you were a child.  

Stress reduction is more valuable to you now than when you were a child. Playing steel pan can serve as an escape from the office long hours that can at times prove to be stressful. Playing can also help you practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of the current moment, without being distracted by past events or future worries. Meditation is a common way to exercise mindfulness, but practicing your scales or learning a song works well, too. Being social can also help reduce stress. As part of the Academy classes you interact with other adults and perform together.

5. No age limit to learning Steel Pan

There is absolutely no age limit to learning steel pan. Whether you are between the ages of 20 to 60, you as an adult have a capacity for continuous learning and the ability to achieve steel pan playing success. At the Academy you can be sure we will take you from not knowing to a place where you feel confident to perform a song. Remember, age is only a number, and should never be a roadblock in your pursuit to become a steel pan musician or to simply play for the fun of it.

6 Benefits of Steel Pan (Music)

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1. Improves your capacity to work in a team

Working as part of a team requires peer interaction and communication, which encourage teamwork, as students must collaborate to create a crescendo or perform as a band/orchestra. Benoit Academy of Steel Pan offers steel pan education classes, in which students will have the opportunity to lead a melody or be the team leader for their section of players may it be tenor or the bass section. Our motto for teamwork is "One Band, One Sound".

2. Increases your self-esteem

At the Academy we encourage our students to simply be themselves. Everyone has room for improvement and it's okay to accept constructive criticism because it can only make you a better Steel Pan musician. We teach that turning negative feedback into positive, can help build self-confidence and this is what's needed to be an excellent musician.

3. Helps with improving your thinking

There are many ways in which playing an instrument can improve your thinking. It can minimize your stress, allow you to think clearly and improve your mood. One study showed that children who had three years or more musical instrument training, performed better than those who didn’t learn an instrument in auditory discrimination abilities and fine motor skills.

4. Develop parts of the brain associated with language and reasoning

This information produced from Psychological and neuroscientific research indicates that musical training in children is associated with heightening of sound sensitivity as well as enhancement in verbal abilities and general reasoning skills. Children who has musical training develop a better verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy and reading ability. There is even a possibility to some degree that learning to play an instrument can predict academic performance and IQ in young adulthood.

5. Effective in problem solving both academically and socially

Learning a musical instrument such as Steel Pan can give children the benefit of achieving their academic and social goals because reading music requires the child to count rhythms, notes and applying it to the steel pan by way of reading the notation on the musical score. It can improve the student's mathematical ability. At the Academy the friends you make becomes family. It's common that the people you play a musical instrument with, can help you develop lasting friendships. It can help introverted students to interact with others and thereby developing their social skills.

6. Playing the instrument is like a full-body workout for the brain.

Steel Pan can give the brain a full workout by the memorizing of musical notations or even simply reading music. It can also give the entire body a full physical workout by the hype of the music and the coordinated rhythmic dancing of performers.