About the program..

Please enjoy this little video we put together to give you an idea of what Steel Magic Northwest is all about. Our warmest thanks to Fio B. and Ashlee H. for their fine camera skills and interviewing!

What else is learned from doing this...

Steel Magic Northwest is as much about making good people as it is about making good music! Participants learn much more than just music in the steel band. They develop teamwork skills, leadership through mentoring, an increased sense of responsibility to the group, social skills, and they see on a regular basis the fruits of their dedication. The steel band is different than school band or orchestra in that the director doesn't stand in front with a baton; the students themselves are in front, and therefore have a heightened sense of ownership of the performance.

The value of music in a young person's life...

Studies have proven that playing music is unrivaled in terms of how much of the brain is used in a single activity. Here's a a Ted Talk on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng. And here's another one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8zU7PyUrdU.

And here's a recent study establishing the link between music education and academic achievement.

Further justification of the specific value of an after school steel band program can be found in Dr. Anthony Hailey's 1993 doctoral dissertation. And in the years since that paper was written, many youth have become even more inactive with the advent of the digital age, so the need for kinetic stimulation is greater than ever.

What some important people have to say about it...

"Since the parts are independent, students learn not only how to play their individual part, but also how that part fits together with the whole group. Students gain musical, social, and performance skills through being a part of this fun group. The district is thankful for the work Mr. Gibson has done. Playing in a steel drum band is an exciting opportunity for students to be a part of a unique performing ensemble.” (Scott Barnes, Manager of Visual and Performing Arts, Edmonds School District)

“Steel band sounds way better than 5th grade band...I enjoy performing for people. It gives people a chance to see the instrument, hear what it sounds like, and see how awesome it is. If I ever get a chance to play a steel pan for the rest of my life, I would take it. Steel pan is very fun and I would try to play until I die. If not, then at least until I got very bad arthritis. I would advise people to play if they ever get the chance. Steel band is cool in many ways. It feels good to play an instrument that not many people even know about. It’s awesome to play songs that I know and love. It’s even cool to play songs I don’t like! I never really enjoyed listening to 'YMCA,' but when I first played it on the steel pan, I completely changed my mind about the song. It is also fun to play classical pieces like 'Blue Danube Waltz.' I just love steel pan."  (B. P., 5th grade)

“It’s different from all the other instruments. It’s a rare instrument, and most people don’t have a chance to play it, and we do. The sounds of the steel pan are joyful and amazing.” (L. V., 5th grade)

"It was awesome, it was so much fun. The high-pitched drums make for a real cool sound." (S. H., 6th grade)

And here's a video about how we got all this going...


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