Learn to Play Pan at Adlib

Have you or your children considered learning to play the steel pan (commonly called the steel drum)? Because of its unique design, the steel pan is an ideal instrument to learn the fundamentals of music theory without having to read music. And it is fun to play! Adlib has classes where you can learn to play, regardless of your age. Once you become proficient, you are welcome to become part of the band as a musician.

You may be concerned that your children have too much time on their hands and need a structured activity which will educate them and keep them occupied in a positive environment: Bring them to Adlib, where they can learn to play pan and join Adlib’s youth band. Activities like music build self-confidence and give young people direction. Many young people in Adlib have excelled scholastically as they have matured. If your children join Adlib, they will be with a group of motivated, very talented young people, under proper adult supervision.

Many colleges and public schools have steelbands. Learning to play pan at Adlib will give young people the opportunity to play at school. Conversely, if they have played pan at school, Adlib’s experienced instructors can teach them proper technique and make them better musicians. Additionally, young Adlib members often further their musical skills by learning other musical instruments at school.

Adlib’s inexpensive classes, led by the band’s director Franklin Mayers, typically meet one or two weekend afternoons year-round at our Freeport, NY panyard (rehearsal space). Franklin has over 50 years’ experience in steelpan and has taught pan at Adlib for over 20 years. Beginners or players looking to increase their skills are welcome to join the classes at any time. Most of Adlib’s young members learned to play pan at these classes. There is no minimum age to enter, as long as a youngster is able to learn. Adults of any age are welcome also. You will be taught the proper technique of playing the instrument and the rudiments of music theory. How far you choose to progress is up to you.

 In preparation for the annual Panorama competition, which is part of the Brooklyn Labor Day Carnival activities, Adlib’s youth orchestra rehearses every night during school’s summer vacation. The orchestra, usually comprised of 80 to 100 members, has frequently placed near the top of the competition, and has taken first place three times in recent years.

Playing for Panorama is an excellent way for novice members to improve their skills. While the music can be challenging, there is only one 10 minute arrangement to learn, and there will be plenty of support from the other band members. Once on stage, for those ten minutes, you’ll be performing in front of an audience of thousands of people.

 Adlib’s year-round stageside orchestra regularly performs for both public and private functions. The musicians learn a diverse repertoire of music suited for various types of engagements. They also learn the performance skills and self-confidence necessary to perform as a small group in front of an audience. Some of our musicians have advanced to the point where they arrange and compose music for the band. Several have gone on to study music as a college major or minor. During the school year, the stageside typically rehearses at our panyard twice weekly, on Friday and Saturday evenings.

 Mature people who either already play pan or want to learn outside of Adlib’s weekend classes may consider joining Adlib’s senior band. The senior band, with an emphasis on performing Gospel music, rehearses weekly for much of the year. They have performed in a number of area churches, as well as other events. While some of the members played pan before joining, others joined specifically to learn to play the instrument.

 For information on contacting Adlib about its steelpan classes or for any reason, click HERE.