Pan In Education 2004
Making Pan History
Pat Bishop T.C.
Once upon a long time past, I used to sing,
occasionally, in public. I therefore found myself in a pan talk
that a steelband could not play quietly enough to accompany an
unamplified female voice. The bet was on. I was to be the singer
and Esso Tripoli, led by Hugh Borde, was the band. The venue was
Queen’s Hall and the show was Carols and Classics on Steel.
I had no mike and the band did not drown the voice and so one more
small piece of pan history was made. Thereafter I sang no more
because it was much more interesting to learn about what the
instrument could really do, what it took to make a good player and
all the myriad pan questions which have preoccupied my mind (and
time) ever since.
In the context of this Pan in Education
project, three principal issues seem to me to be of critical
The first is that the reliance of players
upon learning their music by rote means that the material takes
far too long to learn and it can all too easily be forgotten. I
have had enormous and terrible experiences of this! The
literate musician has no such problem.
Another concern lies in the fact that while
there is a lot of music being generated by pan people
themselves, they don’t yet have the means of writing it down –
not only to preserve it, but to study it on paper in a critical
manner to make those adjustments which only considered review
can encourage. This situation is changing but the process is too
factor is entirely contemporary and it turns upon the computer.
Technology has given this generation the means of making music
literacy very much more user-friendly than it ever was before.
The computer can give the musician all kinds of advantages –
including perfect copy –, which the old manuscript paper and pen
musicians of the past did not have.
This project addresses all these
considerations in a single, convenient and attractive package. It
records visually both on paper and by means of the computer
the music of Mark Loquan and associated lyrics. It also records the
music aurally so that players can hear the music even before
they learn to play it. The project showcases a number of bands and
their arrangers so that a variety of arranging and playing styles
can be studied and appreciated.
More than that, the package contains
invaluable interpretive and performance notes, together with advice
to teachers. This could help them enliven their music lessons, and
to integrate music into the wider curriculum. In this regard, the
contribution of Sat Sharma to the project must be singled out for
To me, this project takes us light years ahead
of those days when we knew so little that we had to go upon the
Queen’s Hall Stage with a loud voice, the lightest possible hands
and a lot of prayer. Mark Loquan, Simeon Sandiford, Kareem Brown,
and all those who have worked on this project deserve our praise and
support. Speaking for myself, I am proud to be associated with
another small part of pan history.
also Steel Pan
Education, Pan in Education –
Making Pan History