Steelpan hits high note in Saint Lucia

Steelpan hits high note in Saint Lucia


PRESS RELEASE – The sustainability of steelpan in Saint Lucia hit a high note on Monday 10 August, 2015 with the Cultural Development Foundation’s inaugural Pan Tuning Workshop.

This comprehensive steel pan tuning and construction programme provides training in drum selection, sinking, grooving notes and leveling grooves for a steelpan – all key requisites and skills for mastering of Pan tuning.

The concept of setting and running a course in making and tuning steel pans came out of the realization that the steel band movement is built on pan makers and tuners.

CDF rationalized the steelpan programme on the need for a crop of persons equipped with skills in constructing and tuning steelpans on the island.

This initial steelpan construction and tuning workshop has seen over ten young people from steelpan groups registering.

Participants will initially be exposed to ten (10) days of hands-on training, with over 50 contact hours.  The Pan Tuning Workshop is being facilitated by Mr. Gabriel Robley of Trinidad.

Pan Tuning Background Information:

Tuning a pan or set of pans is a complex process that takes many hours of work, generally spread over a period of at least two days.

Pan instruments vary in terms of the number of barrels required, the number of notes on the playing surface, the depth of this surface when hammered into a concave shape, and the length of the “skirt” (the sides of the pan).

Though each pan instrument has its unique features, the basic tuning principles are the same. Once obtained, the barrel is turned upside down, with the top resting on the ground.

The bottom of the pan is sunk inward.  When the surface has begun to assume a concave shape, a pencil and ruler are used to make some preliminary markings of individual sections, each of which will become a note.

The next step of the tuning process is to “groove” the individual note sections with a 24-ounce hammer and a nail punch with a blunted point.


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