Pan Global Education Alliance is a learning community, aimed at the professional development of steelpan educators. Our approach is a radical reformulation of what steelpan musicians should be taught, and how they should be taught it.
What is the core knowledge taught to a classical musician? Or a jazz musician? And what should be taught to a steelpan musician? At Princeton University, it is “the history and performance practice surrounding the steel drum band and its traditional musics from Trinidad & Tobago”. Here in PanGEA we think that there is more to it. The steelband should be located within the wider context of the many musical styles and forms of instrumentation created by the African diaspora in the Americas and Caribbean, as it encountered European and other musical cultures. And like every other exponent of these musical traditions, the steelpan musician should be able to learn aurally, improvise and compose on the instrument. More importantly, these ideas must be taught in a way that is true to the original mode of transmission, by ear and practically, such that the musician is at the instrument, with their peers, creating, exploring and constantly engaged in the process of musicking.
Every instrument and every genre of music develops its particular pedagogy, its unique ways of combining the kinesthetics of playing the instrument, with the concepts necessary for the musical style. And the steelpan is no different.