Published on June 6th, 2016 | by TandT Newsday Newspapers


People studying pan in America

Pan Trinbago President Keith Diaz has renewed calls for a local masters degree programme in steelpan as people are learning Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument in other countries. He was speaking on Saturday at the Opening of the Music Room at the MIC Institute of Technology O’Meara Technology Centre.

He said that it takes 10 years to become a master pan tuner and there needs to have pan tuning in programmes with accreditation locally “before somebody in the US, Canada or England do that”.  He reported that he has been speaking to the MIC board about a degree in pan tuning. He suggested that they should start in schools and pan tuning is getting “bigger and bigger” and there is money in the skill. He reported that in the United States there are 500 schools with pan programmes and six schools in the United Kingdom.  “We cannot afford to continue with road we going,” he stressed.

Diaz said he will be approaching the University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad and Tobago about a masters degree programme for steelpan. He pointed out that the University of Chicago has had a pan programme for more than 10 years now and people from Caribbean countries go there to study it and do not come to Trinidad “because there is none in Trinidad and Tobago. But this is the land of the steelpan.” He said there was steelbands in Dubai and Germany was also developing pan. He also reported that in St Thomas some people charged were being sent to learn the steelpan instead of going to prison.

Diaz said that former Education Minister Hazel Manning decided to have pan introduced in schools and the previous Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh continued it. He told current Education Minister Anthony Garcia, who was present at the event, “I want you to do better than both of them”.  Diaz said that it may be difficult and Garcia would be closely watching his allocation of funding.

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