Heartbeat Of The Caribbean

Summer, sun, sunshine and beach feeling; this is the bell-like sound of steel pans. One can quickly learn this Caribbean instrument without any previous knowledge and without having to read notes. All one needs are a cut off oil barrel, sticks, a good teacher and a bit of passion.

From 15th January to 29th May 2018, various Primary School classes (years 1 - 4) from different language sections participated in the percussion lessons of Caribbean drum teacher and music instructor Marcos Moreno from Spain. Playfully they rehearsed rhythms including calypso, rumba, meringue and rock.

In contrast to conventional drums, one can not only play rhythms on steel pans, but also real melodies. The metal surface of the steel pan is worked in such a way that different sound fields can be produced at various pitches. In this way, a whole orchestra spectrum can be covered. The parents were very impressed when their offspring managed generate the sound of the Caribbean heartbeat from cut-off oil barrels.

Playing steel drums not only requires patience and concentration, but also fine motor skills, such as drumming with both hands simultaneously. Group drumming allowed the children to explore new ways of communicating, such as listening and relating to each other. Even less outgoing children became fully involved. A sense of achievement usually develops fast and so the children very soon were able to drum quite a few rhythms and melodies. The entertaining aspect cannot be denied either as drumming Caribbean rhythms are simply great fun!