When local musicians from the tiny Caribbean island of Trinidad created different notes on a discarded oil drum in the early 1930's they could never have imagined the worldwide popularity and growth that was to follow.
Now steel bands have sprung up in all continents, and in the UK there are many towns and cities with a set of steel pan instruments (steel drums) either in a school, as part of a community project or a steel band.
CultureMix Arts is an organisation specialising in all aspects of steel pan music.
We offer advice on setting up your own steel band and provide:
• Instruments, from affordable starter sets to tailor made bespoke.
• Accessories including stands, PanStiX, cases and storage solutions.
• Tutors for workshops, demonstrations and presentations.
• Tuners to help keep your instruments in tip top condition.
• Training for those considering a creative career.
• Steel Bands for your function or event.
Our showcase orchestra RASPO, widely promotes steel pan music with it's ensembles (steel bands) entertaining audiences at all types of events.
But what makes steel pans so popular? In my experience the two reasons that stand out are its immediacy and accessibility. Similarly to a piano, a simple phrase on steel pan is quick and easy to learn.
The steel pan instruments are welcoming and approachable for all age groups and abilities making it relatively easy to produce music that is satisfying to the player.
Download this FREE Birthplace of Steel Pan Poster - see Related Links top right
Schools set up steel bands as an ideal group-learning activity enhancing cohesion and diversity.
Our guide explains the process from sourcing your instruments to setting up your project. More...
We offer some helpful tips to get the best instruments at an affordable price. More...
This guide explains the range of instruments and an ideal starter set. More...
Keeping you steel pans in tip top condition. More...
A practical guide to setting up the steel band More...
How to handle your instruments safely, hold your sticks correctly and other tips... More...
Want to know more about the steel pan instrument? Click here for a quick list of useful facts. More...
"CultureMix kept me informed every step of the way and the quality of the instruments is second to none"
Sarah Cooper - Head Teacher
Oxford Gardens Primary School, London
The notes on the steel pan instruments have a range similar to those on a grand piano.
This graphic shows the standardised note layout for a tenor (melody) pan starting from low D.