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    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

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
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Musical travels for children. OpenStax CNX. Jan 06, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10221/1.11
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