<< 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 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
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
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?
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.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

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?