'Ms Panness'

Beat pan? Ms Panness says .......'beat pan'

'Beat pan' does not mean you literally 'beat' the pan, it means play the pan and play it well. Ms Panness doesn't want you to just beat pan, she wants you to do it in the correct way.

There's so much to learn and it is up to Ms Panness to help you get started. So, where do you begin?

  • Is the pan at the correct height?
  • Are you holding the sticks correctly?
  • Which hand do you start playing with?
  • Are you using the right sticks for the pan?
  • Why do the notes sound muffled when you play?

Ms Panness teaches steelpan music in schools to students who will eventually become young aspiring pannists. Her job, in part, is to give her students a good grounding in the art of steelpans as well as teaching them how the steelpans should be played. She does this by giving her students an insight into her experience as a pannist and by sharing her musical knowledge with them.

Many steelpan teachers, like Ms Panness, also teach community based steelbands. These steelbands give the pannists the opportunity to build on the skills they have learned and to develop new ones. They also get the opportunity to perform at more local events, to experience playing other instruments in the pan family and at some time in the future be given the chance to play at panorama.

Ms Panness finds teaching steelpan music very rewarding and takes great pleasure in knowing that her students have gained skills that can be used in other aspects of their lives.

Ms Panness also performs with other musicians in a steelpan combo. If you are fortunate to get a chance to see her play, you will begin to understand the level of musicianship that can be achieved through hard work. 

When starting on your journey to become an accomplished pannist, you will need to master some of the basic rudiments of playing steelpans. As your steelpan playing improves, 'beat pan' will have different meanings as from challenging yourself and others to preparation and performance and eventually you will gain the confidence to achieve your goal.