Urban Music Makers
West Point’s “In School” Band Program has one simple and straight forward goal – to build a musical ensemble of 20 to 25 students drawn from the 4th thru 8th grade. These young people will be taught to read and perform music on one of the instruments from the standard concert band family. By design, our mission is to build a band that your school will be proud to call its own.
Our program is not designed to: (a) be a catch all for kids who are behaviorally challenged; or b) provide General Music. The goal is to build a concert band at your school that can perform for assemblies, parents meetings, open houses and other school wide events. Our aim is also to add another skill to the students so that they have more choices as they look towards high school and college. To accomplish our objective of building a band, the following elements will be included in our program:
- In School and after school instructional time
- Band Camps offered during the regular intermission breaks
- Access to West Point School of Music advance band practices and training sessions
- Four concert opportunities for the young musicians each year to perform before the faculty, peers, parents, and the community.
We value hard work, proper attitude, and exemplary behavior. We encourage all students to keep this in mind when participating in our programs and classes.
Celebration On Steel
The Steel drum evolved out of earlier musical practices of Trinidad’s enslaved Africans and Afro-descendants, whom had to make do with discarded materials for constructing musical instruments. As well, the steel pan served as a specific cultural response to the specific demographic conditions present on the islands. In its contemporary form, it first arose in the 1930s and was developed largely during World War II.
The Steel drum has two very important assets. The first is accessibility. Unlike other traditional band and orchestra instruments, which require a considerable investment of time and solitary practice before the fun of playing together can be achieved, the Steel Pan can be played at once – even by someone with no previous musical experience. It is the perfect instrument for the student who thought he or she could never play any instrument. Its second asset is its irresistible sound. Experience shows that people are always intrigued by it and want to try playing it.
The Steel drum is a widely accepted art-form and an international phenomenon. Steel Pan Orchestras have sprung up in a numerous countries all over the globe – ranging from Japan to Sweden. Major institutions have commenced the study of the instruments and national organizations encourage the music and provide teaching facilities. The importance of the steel drum in the emergence of world music means that it is now being enjoyed internationally. The instrument’s versatility sets the stage for the Steel drum to stand alone as large orchestras or blends with more modern innovative music improvisations.
This is a highly specialize program that will be available during the academic term.
Steel drum instruction is offered at the following locations:
- Kellman Elementary
- Whistler Elementary
- South Shore Cultural Center
More classes will be available as instruments and funding become available.