Rigour of standard music education methods accounts for rising level of pan musicianship

Dear Editor,

With reference to Dave Martins’ observations in ‘Steelband making waves’ (Sunday Stabroek, February 15) – Thanks: Pan, and more pan in our land… The rising level of musicianship can be attributed to the formality and rigour of standard music education methods. Guyanese artistry is enhanced as he has observed. His acknowledgements of the sequential actions taken are noteworthy. Andrew Tyndall refers to the use of a manual as a teaching tool to bring consistency across the country. This is striking to me.

I recall Dave’s encouragement and counsel in supporting my actions when I visited Guyana in June 2010. I was excited by the prospects for impacting the local conditions. Alfred King, Permanent Secretary introduced Edgar Henry and me to Minister Anthony as representatives of the Guyana Cultural Association of NY. During that meeting about the GCA Annual Awards programme, steelpan music education came up about activities that were evolving locally and in the diaspora.

Later that day, the Handbook for the first Literacy Camp was shared with me by Mr Tyndall for comment. On behalf of a Boston resource – eCaroh.com and my Trinidadian partner – I offered a brand new product that was to be released soon: Pan In Education. Also donated were the PIE curriculum; A Centre of Excellence Strategy statement; and a Teaching Workplan for Outcomes and Deliverables outline. Ray Holman’s latest CD release, ‘Changing Time,’ was introduced to complement the PIE production.

I edited the local draft handbook to bring it in line with UWI’s Fundamentals of Music Theory and Steelpan Arranging. Dr Jeannine Remy is the author. Sitting in the same office with Mr Tyndall was Allan Fenty, a cultural acquaintance. He guided me on my written contributions with cautions about reactions to the goodwill gestures. Mr Tyndall expressed his verbal gratitude then and reprinted the Handbook for his classroom and panyard instruction.

It is good to hear now of the use and impact that the Handbook has had in the Guyanese education system.

Yours faithfully,

Ronald Lammy

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