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I am looking for warm-up exercises for my university steel pan band. 


I want to incorporate some warm-ups and technique into our rehearsals. Unfortunately, we only rehearse once a week for 3 hours.


Does anyone have any suggestions for materials for the band? I want to elevate the level of the ensemble and I would appreciate your advise.



Dave Gerhart

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Practice the chromatic scale up an down

Hi Dave,

I am Kenneth Clarke, I started my musical career at a tender age as a Pannist with the then Panam North Stars Steel Orchestra under the baton of "Dr. Anthony "Skip" Williams", the inventors of the 4th and 5th Tenor Pans and many other invention in the Steel Pan world. I then on to BWIA Sun Jets Steel Orchestra on the baton of the late Herman "Rock" Johnson in the 60's. I have developed many different types of styles and concepts depending on the Pannist weaknesses. I am presently a Music Educator, Pannist, Master Percussionist, Arranger, Composer, with more than 50 years in the experience. Its my pleasure to read and know that you are interested in "Warm up exercises and Techniques" for your Band. Can you please contact via my email address: kennethclarke1@gmail.com or 1868 768 6745 - 353 8160 for more ddiscussions.

A lot of method books work well transferred to pan.  We use a lot of flute, xylophone, trumpet duet books.

Some years ago I worked with my brother-in-law to develop a simple document of exercises for the Pan. It is something I used to teach the church band in order to improve their skills, it contains things like stick exercises, rythmn exercises and more...if I can find the document I will contact you and send it to you...what is your email address?



That would be great. Thanks!

I am the author of six Steelpan text books you may find some interest in my books..send me an email for more information sal_wils@hotmail.com

Salah Wilson

Hi Dave, I start each pan class with upper body stretches to warm up and loosen the neck shoulders arm and wrists and waist - it makes a difference and is fun to do together for 5 min each class. Pan exercises we do are on the floor with our sticks actually beating out strum patterns and weaving rhythms to give everyone a feel for how the diiferent rhythms we are using fit together and relate to the beat. We then take this to the engine room instruments and learn how to play all of these which really gives them a good sense of what makes a calypso/soca groove. I find teaching pan exercises, aside of scales, pointless and a waist of time, there is more to be had by learning a real piece of music. 

Good luck,  from the Maine Pan Side

There was a video by Despers made some 25yrs ago (approx.) showing exercises that the members went through prior to music festivals etc. Wish I could out my hands on it.
That would be awesome. I wonder if IsDePaninMe (on YouTube) has a copy of this video. Does anyone know this person? We should try and search for this. It would be a valuable resource for everyone!
I try to get my band warmed up with a series of stretches, then chose a chord and have the band roll that chord working to develop a balanced sound and good tone.  During this phase of warm up, I like to stretch their concept of dynamics and have them play as quietly as possible while still maintaining a balance.  We also try pushing the sound towards the upper limit of volume without getting a distorted sound.  I find that this helps get a good group focus as well as developing good sound concept and technique.  Next, using the same chord, or a different one, I might give them a series of rhythms to repeat...sort of a "simon says" of rhythm.  We also rehearse scales (any and all), and on occasion, I've even had them sing their parts before playing just to get them thinking musically.  As a director and player myself, I find that warming up is as much if not more a mental and focus issue as a it is a physical issue.  Hope this helps!
Luke, that is a great idea about dynamics. I will try that out. I also think it is a good time to address issues of hand placement, especially in tenors and doubles. Thanks


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