COURSE CODE & TITLE COCR 1050: The Basics of Steelpan
LEVEL: One (1)



This curriculum offers basic instruction in the fundamentals of the steelpan to non-music majors. Individualized instruction allows for personal specialization, while providing a well-rounded foundation in all steelpan instruments. Students will be taught skills related to basic instrumental techniques - scales, triads and executive techniques relevant to the instrument. Students will also be exposed to some socio-cultural issues related to the steelband movement. 

The course is primarily practical and hands-on in nature, and students will be taught the various skills outlined in the learning outcomes, while preparing for their end of term assessment which will take the form of participating in an ensemble performance.  Guest presentations will also be made on the sociocultural significance of the steelpan, and students will be assessed on their understanding of the content through group presentations.  This co-curriculum programme is a joint effort with birdsong who has 45 years of steelband experience, and, more specifically, 15 years of pioneering youth music education under the auspices of birdsong Academy



Consistent with the objective of producing a well-rounded, distinctive graduate, the course seeks to encourage multi-disciplinarity and to expand the student experience on the St Augustine Campus.


Course Aims

Steelpan co-curriculum study seeks to develop competencies and knowledge that will contribute to individual proficiency on the instrument and cultural intelligence. The course seeks to develop basic knowledge of music and the steelpan through performance, creation, appraisal and analysis.  It will also contribute to the following UWI Graduate Outcomes:

  • A Critical and Creative Thinker
  • An Effective Communicator with Good Interpersonal Skills
  • Globally Aware and Well-grounded in His/Her Regional Identity
  • Socially, Culturally and Environmentally Responsible and Guided by Strong Ethical Values

Course Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Interpret basic music notation symbols
  • Explain the musical and sociocultural significance of the steelpan 
  • Develop steelpan performance technique
  • Identify the different types of instruments in a steel orchestra
  • Determine appropriate sticking positions when learning and performing repertoire
  • Perform scales and arpeggios on respective instruments on a non-reading basis
  • Participate in an ensemble performance consisting of repertoire learnt during the semester
  • Demonstrate a greater degree of socio-cultural sensitivity.
  • Deliver an oral presentation about the steelband discourse

Assessment & Evaluation

Component Grade
Practical 65%
Attendance 20%
Oral Presentation 15%


University Grading Scheme ( Pass/Fail)

Pass 50-100
Fail 0-49


Teaching Strategies

Practical: Exercises, Studio Performances
Seminars led by guest presenters on socio-cultural issues in the steelband movement
Applied Lessons addressing individual technique development



Derrianne Dyett

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