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The 1st Biennial Steelpan Conference

'Steelband Music and Education in the 21st Century'


The steelpan is a 20th century musical wonder that is now finding its way to all corners of the globe. Many musicians left their homeland, Trinidad in the 1960-70's and took their talent to distant shores where events such as London's Notting Hill carnival, Toronto's Caribana and New York's Labour Day have provided the impetus for the next generation of steelpan musicians. To secure this treasured artform, steelpan teachers are striving to influence the music curriculum of schools, consequently many new bands have evolved from these sources and remain a powerful force at major events. The time is now ripe to progress its boundaries and challenge its dynamics at higher educational institutes and universities. For this reason Nostalgia Steelband and the University of East London, in association with the 'British Association of Steelbands' aim to hold the first international conference in Europe to address these issues.


The conference programme is divided into discussions, workshops and formal presentations. For convenience the programme is divided into four sessions, the first takes the form of a discussion/debate between the audience and team-leaders. The discussion will focus on networking steelbands at different levels with the aim of redressing the balance/polarisation between various places. The second session will be a workshop aimed at optimising teaching methods in schools and will include both theoretical aspects and demonstrations. Many music teachers are now finding that if a steelpan is used as a first instrument, other instruments such as a piano, are more readily assimilated by a child subsequently. The third session discusses the evolution of this artform from outside its native homeland Trinidad, the merits of various models, diversification and impact from other cultures. The final session examines the future, opportunities to collaborate globally and explores how higher educational establishments may help to develop a firm foundation for this artform and make it more accessible through a broader curriculum

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Some key presentations and performances:

Plenary Lecturer: Yoko Kimura; The Steelband Perspective in Japan and the Far East”

Other speakers include:

Gerald Forsyth, David Waddell, Mark Loquan, Robbie Joseph, Monika Nicoletti-Tung, Haroun Shah, Jenny Lee, Diana Hancox, Ronald Shah, Victoria Jaqciss, Lionel McCalman, Rachel Gardiner, Brian Copeland, Camille Shah, Martin Buschmann 

Click to download the full conference book here

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