Class information

This class is from 2016. Please look in the menu for a current class listing.

TitleThe Steel Band Tool Kit
DaysTWTh (week 2)
Instructor(s)Chris Tanner
Slots (taken)20 (6)
LocationThe Music Room Downtown
DescriptionEveryone wants to become better at things they enjoy doing. But how do we go about it? What are the tools needed for success? This three-day workshop will expose participants to strategies for understanding steel band music in a holistic sense, with the goal of making both learning and performing the music easier, and therefore more enjoyable. Participants can register for all three days, or any of the days separately. Topics to be covered each day are as follows:
  • Tuesday: The Beauty of Scales. If you think practicing melodic scales is a tedious exercise, think again! Scales are nothing more than tools for understanding melody, and the better we know our scales, the more insight we have as to how melodies work. What's more, practicing scales in diverse and interesting ways can increase one's dexterity and ability to "get around the pan."
  • Wednesday: Pan Rhythm. Steel Bands have always had a deep connection with calypso and soca music from Trinidad, and these styles have a particular rhythmic sensibility. In this session participants will learn how to recognize and interpret idiomatic rhythms commonly found in Trinidadian music. Special attention will be paid to strumming -- the rhythmic timekeeping typically performed by certain instruments in the mid-range of the steel band. Don't worry: even if you don't play a strumming instrument, you will benefit from an increased awareness of how to properly "feel" the strum rhythms, as these patterns in fact permeate the entire band.
  • Thursday: Harmony 101. Steel band music, like practically all music in the Western hemisphere, is based on harmony, or chords. Having a fundamental understanding of what a chord is, and how patterns of chords are found in a given piece of music, can increase one's understanding tremendously. Participants will learn how to identify basic chords in this session, and how the recognition of chords can in fact decrease the time it takes to learn and internalize a piece of music.

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