Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. - “Every instrument develops its own unique approach to how it should be taught, the violin and the electric guitar, and so too does every style of music, whether it’s classical or rock,” explains pan historian Kim Johnson as he introduces PanGEA - Pan-Global Educational Alliance - a new organization focused on steelband education.
“In T&T we developed a unique approach to teaching pan, the instrument and its music, in the 50s and 60s, but today, with the decline of community steelbands and the indifference of local youth to pan while it spreads globally, we need to update our approach - and not by a copy-and-paste of European classical music pedagogy.
“We need to decolonize music education in T&T.”
The proposed approach, developed by Fulbright Scholar and specialist pan educator Malika Green, reformulates (1) what a steelpan educator should know, and (2) how he or she should teach it: that is, by combining general progressive music pedagogy with components developed specifically for pan - its physical layout as much as the culture of panyard/classroom relationships.
“I wanted to improve my teaching in Chicago so I studied what other teachers were doing,” explains Green. “Then the Fulbright award allowed me to compare methods in Toronto, London and of course Trinidad, where I saw a lot of great ideas and some ineffective ones. Most were instructor-dependent, piecemeal curriculums that aimed at building repertoire for performances, or competitions, but very little about musicianship or sequential learning”. Those approaches seemed to lead to young musicians eventually plateauing at an intermediate level of technique or musicianship. I experimented with some of my own ideas and stumbled into something that surprised even me.”
Additionally, the PanGEA approach also emphasizes the broad cultural literacy necessary for a pannist: that is, the history and culture which a pannist needs to know, and which is more relevant to music of the African diaspora.
Fort George, St. James, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago~ email@example.com 868.721.2421/868.737.1878~ www.steelpaneducation.org ~ @PanGEA.Steel PanGEA’s vision is to bring a stronger level of musicianship to panists worldwide but especially in T&T, the Mecca of pan.
The Workshop is to be held in August 5 - 10 in Port-of-Spain Trinidad and Tobago. Registration is now open and scholarship opportunities are available for local and international participants. www.steelpeducation.org
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