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Our Newsletter

Can I Learn To Play?

The short answer is definitely YES! Very little physical skill (mainly how hard to hit the notes) is required to learn. From there, which note to hit next is the only question. For this reason a Pan is an excellent beginning instrument for children.

Even if you are new to reading music, we can help get you started in a hurry. You will receive a diagram of your instrument showing which notes are which. Once you locate the basic notes on your instrument and practice striking them, you will be well on your way to playing your first song. Our newest training product, Our Panhandler Academy Scale Training DVD will get you there quickly!  The program contains 30 Streaming Videos that will teach you to play every note on your new pan.

A Steel Drum instrument or set of instruments can be thought of as a piano built in a circle. All the notes contained on a piano keyboard are contained on the Pans. Each single Lead instrument or set of instruments contain about 2 1/4 octaves (repeats) of the Chromatic Scale. If it can be played on a keyboard (which all music can), it can be played on the Steel Drums.

We often astound people by playing polkas, country songs, and even classical tunes on our Pans. They seem at first to be locked into the thinking that only Island Songs work on the Pan. This is probably because they first heard the Pan played in an island setting.

The lead pan of today (all notes on a single instrument) is laid out in a ‘Circle of 5ths’ configuration that leads to a logical note progression around the pan. Other instrument sets in the family are laid out so that the Chromatic Scale notes are easily played by alternating hands.  Yet others are layed out to support strumming chords.