Woodside Primary School

 Woodside Primary School is located in Grays Essex.

The name of the steelband is Woodside Steel, and the band has been running since February 2011.

The steelband was formed because the head teacher Mr Caines has always wanted to have a steel band in the school after hearing youth steel bands in the 1970s. “The unmistakable sound of steel pan together with the Caribbean connection makes it perfect for community events outdoors.” He knew it would be possible for children to learn to play pan reasonably quickly and that people would want to listen to it. He also thought it would be good for community cohesion because it is an example of something from another culture that people in England are very positive about. The school also has a growing number of children that are of African and Caribbean heritage.

Woodside’s first experience of steelpans was in 2009 as part of the Wider Opportunities music lessons in World Percussion for the whole of Year 3 and 4. Sadly, the instruments used were on loan for only a term. However, this year, after acquiring a set of pans with the Borough's assistance, steelband lessons have started at the school for all classes and staff. The current band is made up from Year 5 and 6 children who were part of the original groups. They actually have enough pans for a class of 30 to play if some double up on instruments, but have no engine room yet.

Next year Woodside aims to start a youth band for secondary aged pupils. The nucleus of this steelband will come from the current Year 6 pupils and will then be open to children from other schools who may have had steel band experience.

Woodside will be making Steelpan their Wider Opportunities instrument for Year 3 and have also arranged training for staff so that they can get the whole school playing steelpan.

The steelband practices every Wednesday for an hour after school and is taught by a specialist steelpan tutor from Thurlock Music Services. Woodside Steel gave their debut performance at the school’s Easter concert and is now designing tee shirts for the steelband as they are looking forward to playing at the school fete and hopefully some other events this term.

What the pupils say?

“It’s fun!”.... “It’s quite different from other instruments

Information supplied to My Panyard by Woodside Primary School