Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
To All Panists:
Re: Steel Pan Blueprint For Success (Rough Draft Edit)
Hi to all,
Recently, a pan colleague asked me what were my ideas on what needs to be done to “revive the pan movement...” (as he put it). In relation to that question, I though I would present to everyone a document I actually started to create about 2-3 months ago. I, by no means, think that I have all (or any) solutions to the issues facing panists, especially the local performers, but I did offer sincere thought into this, and I appreciate any feedback/criticism, both positive and negative.
Steel Pan Blueprint For Success Highlights
1. The pan union should represent panists not steelbands. Steel bands should be registered (for-profit) corporations, whom union-represented panists would work for.
2. The government should assist steelbands in becoming for-profit business corporations, by way of grants, low interest loans and other business start-up assistance.
3. Any union representing panists should function as a non-profit workers' union, that answers to the needs and welfare of it membership i.e. panists (only).
4. The leader of the pan union, should be a registered union member for (at least) 2-5 years, and be registered for at least one year with a functioning steelband, or be an active performing/recording panist . In addition they should (at least) own a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), preferably in the non-profit area.
5. The pan union should function similar to any reputable musician's union, and have available benefits to it membership, including (but not limited to): term life insurance, health and dental insurance, employment and education assistance services, financial educational assistance services, prepaid legal services, pension and retirement plans and services,family and domestic abuse counselling services, and a credit union (for low-interest mortgage, auto, student, and business loans, no-fee checking and savings accounts, estate planning, investment options, and other “banking” services). There are so many panists, that by the concept of “The Law of Large Numbers”, on which most of these services are based, the costs should be affordable to even the most modest income.
6. The recording (audio, video, or otherwise) of ANY event in which a union member (or members) is a participant/performer, should be by the expressed written consent of the performing union member(s), as evidenced on official union contract(s), prepared by the union's legal team. This includes Panorama, and the local television companies will also have to enter into legal agreements/contracts. The contracts will reserve the rights for recorded union members to payments, royalties and other residual earnings/profits stemming from their performances.
7. If Panorama is a “competition”, then panists and arrangers should be allowed to play/arrange for one band only.
8. The registration deadline should be (at least) by October 31st of the prior year.
9. Any applicant with an arrest or conviction for any violent crime where any weapon was involved, should have their application request denied, and should be disallowed from any union-related pan or steelband event, until the five years from such event has lapsed. Such records will not affect their union membership, and they would be eligible for the relevant assistance services that the union offers.
10. Finally, on Panorama, it should always remain a competition for (acoustic) steelpans/steeldrums/pans only, in keeping with tradition. The definition of a steelpan/steeldrum/pan should be: an “acoustic,steel percussive instrument, made from, either a 55-gallon oil barrel, or other steel container specifically manufactured for the production of a steelpan/steeldrum/pan”. NO ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE USED IN THE PANORAMA COMPETITIONS. (This includes the P.H.I., and the E-Pan.)
11. These creative innovations are very important to the continuing history of the “steelband movement”, and should definitely be deliberately highlighted during the competition. Soloists and “crackshots” like Professor, Boogsie, Robert, Othello Duvone, and Leon “Foster” Thomas, can perform on these innovations during breaks/intermissions. However, their use create both a distraction and an assumed advantage, as well as a dilemma, especially when it comes to judging for the tuning and tone quality of a steelband's instruments. It further marginalizes those competitors, who may not be able to afford the technology, and every steelband should have an equal opportunity to win. (In my opinion, I've heard them all, and NOTHING can EVER sound like a TRUE pan. Neither of them “improves” the pan, the latter of which is “perfect” in its “imperfection”. Plus, anyone who knows the history, electronics and amplification have been pan's nemeses.)
12. Likewise, no form of amplified music should be allowed within 5 miles of Panorama.
13. Any business or corporation that intend to conduct business on the premises of any steelband event, should be made to (agree to) declare their earnings at such event (i.e. audits by the union), and make immediately available an agreed-upon percentage of such earnings to the union, unless they “broke even” or ran at a loss. The union shall have assigned member act as an auditor, and the agreement should have the option to audit their books. Individual vendors (on the outskirts) will be exempt from having to do this.
14. All national government schools should have a pan program added to their curricula, broken down into subject areas that cover (among other things): the history of pan and the steelband movement, applied pan techniques, basic musicianship/music theory, pan manufacturing techniques, arranging for the steelband, recording techniques and computer applications, and intro to music business.
15. EVERY child in the government school system in Trinidad & Tobago, should be required to have a basic education in pan, and be able to play (at least) our National Anthem on our national instrument. (Makes logical sense, to me.) The goal should be by 2015, and by then, every government school should have their own start-up steel band (full range of pans for about 25-50 players), with the assistance of the government and the pan union.
16. The Trinidad & Tobago government should appoint certain panists as cultural diplomats to regional and international countries, and should be a part of our consulates abroad. These appointees should have clean criminal and drug-related records, and a life history of dedicated service as panists. (That disqualifies me, by the way.) I think that persons in the likes of Robert Greenidge, Joanna Short, Iman Pascall, and Leon Foster Thomas are great examples, and would make great diplomats to foreign countries. These diplomats would work directly under the Consulate-Generals, and be visible cultural representatives at all our consulate offices worldwide, promoting, displaying, and demonstrating our national instrument.
These are just some of the ideas I have, and, I understand that some may not be practical or feasible, but I am sure that with a collective, sincere effort, we can all input ideas, and come up with a working model which can be placed into motion. As panists, we are sometimes forced to have various skill-sets, which is a blessing in disguise, because we can tap into those resources, and apply them to the pan industry. I think that pan is very much alive, and like a cactus in the desert, will only die if its proverbial life is intentionally sought out. In other words, it is a low-maintenance product that can bring significantly high yields: financially, socially (think crime rate), and most-importantly, spiritually. I thank pan for saving my life, and anyone who knows me, knows that I am not exaggerating.
Yours In Pan,
George D. Goddard, B.A. Music
THE GHOST WHO TALKS - Honoring George "Sonny" Goddard's Legacy.
You have a lot of good points here Goddard, I agree with most of them
It's indeed a work-in-progress and I for one paid attention to your previous quest.
I respect your efforts and will give it the response it deserves IMHO in time...