<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

    Materials and preparation

  • You will need a globe, world map, or map of the Americas.
  • Have an audio player and some CDs or tapes for the children to hear. See below for a list of suggestions.
  • Have the tapes ready to play at the right spot, or know the CD track numbers.
  • Pictures of steel pan drums or of steelbands, or video of a steelband performance, would be a useful visual aid. (You may use the drawing included here if you like.) Even better, contact any steelbands in your area to see if they would be willing to send a member or two for a demonstration. With younger students, you may also want to include pictures of the islands in your presentation while you are talking, to help focus their attention.

Steel pan drum

Today's steel pan drum is crafted by a skilled instrument maker, but it retains the basic shape of an upside-down oil drum with its bottom specially shaped to produce a variety of notes.


  1. Ask the students if they can name any kinds of (U.S.) American music that were strongly influenced by African music. There are many right answers to this question: blues, gospel, soul, and jazz, as well as newer African-American styles such as rap, and, in fact, most rock and pop styles.
  2. Tell the students that Africans were also brought to many Central American, South American, and Caribbean countries. Whether or not your discussion also includes the cruelty and injustice involved will depend on the age and maturity of your students and how much you have already covered this subject. You don't want to use this lesson to introduce the horrors of slavery, but if they already understand what was going on, you can point out some of the influences this had on the music. There is also a large Indian population on Trinidad, the result of plantation owners encouraging immigration from India (as replacement workers when they were forced to free their slaves) using misleading promises that led to a kind of indentured servitude. Again, this may be more information than your class needs, or it may be appropriate and relevant to their studies.
  3. Help the students find Trinidad on a map or globe. Tell them: Today Trinidad is part of a small country called "Trinidad and Tobago". (You can also help them find the smaller island of Tobago if you like.) But this island was once owned by Spain, and then by England, and many people came to the islands from India and France as well as west Africa. (Have them locate western Africa, India, England, Spain, and France on a map or globe). And all of those people brought their favorite traditions and favorite songs and music with them. When they settled on Trinidad, they heard each other's music, and eventually the African-Trinidadians invented a kind of music that sounded a little bit African and a little bit European but was also uniquely Trinidadian.
  4. Play some of the music you have chosen for them.
  5. Tell the students: Calypso began as a type of protest music. African-Trinidadians in the eighteen-hundreds were not allowed to talk as they worked, but they were allowed to sing. Many of the song leaders became very good at improvising words to songs in order to comment on the news of the day. ("The Banana Boat Song [Day-O]" of Harry Belafonte fame is the type of call-and-response work song that this could be done with.) Calypso songs also had improvised words that commented on the latest news and sometimes on life in general, but they were more clearly protest songs that often featured sarcasm and wit. The subversive nature of the music alarmed the authorities, who in 1884, in an effort to stop it, banned the playing of skin drums. That hardly stopped the Calypsonians; they just made instruments out of bamboo instead. Bamboo makes a nice sound with a definite pitch when you hit it with a stick; the bigger and longer the piece of bamboo, the lower the sound. (See Sound, Physics, and Music for more information, or Sound and Music for activities related to this.) So the calypso players cut many different lengths of bamboo and formed what they called tamboo bamboo bands. The government then banned the playing of bamboo tubes, claiming that the bands encouraged violence, but the Calypsonians still kept playing. Their bands had always included instruments other than skin drums or bamboo: stringed instruments, for example, and maracas, and bottle-and-spoon. But in the 1930's they began to make drums out of metal objects.
  6. If you have any pictures or even a real pan drum for the students to look at, this is the best time to show them.
  7. Tell the students: The calypso bands didn't just pick up pots and pans and beat on them. What they did was find useful objects and work on them until they became musical instruments. At first, the musicians made their own instruments, often out of the bottoms (the pans ) of metal shipping containers, paint cans, and garbage cans. A good instrument maker could often shape a pan so that it would play different pitches when it was hit in different spots. By the end of the 1930's there were bands made up only of pans: steelbands . During the Second World War, empty 55-gallon oil drums became widely available on the island. The now-professional instrument makers perfected their technique, making and selling pan drums that could play an entire scale and that could specialize in playing melody , harmony , bass , or rhythm .
    The steel drum is the only acoustic (non-electric) instrument invented in the twentieth century.
    In the 1950's, the unique sound of calypso became widely known and popular around the world, particularly in the U.S. Today the steel pan is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, and there are official calypso competitions every year. People of all races enjoy and perform the music. Strings, saxes, clarinets, trumpets, tin whistles and percussion are all popular instruments at the competitions, although not as popular as the steel pans. And the focus of genuine calypso is still on improvising clever, humorous, and topical lyrics that still often poke fun at the rich and the powerful. But the sounds and rhythms of calypso can be heard in many other places, too: in movies, jazz, dance music, and in other, newer Caribbean music styles.
  8. At this point, you can ask your guest for a demonstration, or play some more calypso-style recordings for them (to focus their attention, ask them if they can guess what types of instruments they are hearing), and/or introduce the related activities you will be doing.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now

Source:  OpenStax, Musical travels for children. OpenStax CNX. Jan 06, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10221/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Musical travels for children' conversation and receive update notifications?