Wednesday, October 22, 2014
When I broached the subject of improvisation, Duvone's response was brief. He said: "Dis improvising ting is about how much you know, and how well you know your pan." And the lesson ended there.
After years of music classes, books and private lessons from musicians, I still wasn't happy with my playing. I mastered every exercise and etude but still struggled to incorporate them in my playing. It seemed there was something fundamental they were taking for granted that I knew, and proceeded to instruct me from that hidden premise. Well, I didn't know 'It'. And all the information I was given was stacked like a house of bricks on a false foundation.
Then one day while browsing the internet, I ran across JG, my first music teacher from 30 years ago. I looked him up and after our reconnaisance we got to talking about music. He wanted to know where I was. I told him about my frustrations, and after a few questions he said to me: "You know, improvisation is spontaneous composition. It all depends on two things: Theory and Technique." He was telling me in different words, exactly what Duvone had said to me in his brief lesson.
So I checked myself. With music Theory, I wasn't too bad. I had picked up a lot of information over the years in classes, lessons, workshops and books. Now Technique...aaah, how could I evaluate the level of my technique?
It turns out I never really had a systematic approach to developing technique on my pan. That's exactly where I was stymied. I took one lesson from JG again and he presented me with his approach to developing technique on any melodic instrument.
Today, I'm not wowing the world like Duvone in this video above, but I can tell you, I know my pan better than I ever did and I'm a lot happier with my playing as it truly reflects my level of knowledge of Theory and Technique on my pan.
If you're curious, come join our Pandamentals class at PanWest, Saturday mornings 10-11am. We are still at 10855 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito CA 94530.
Posted by Harry Best at 1:36 AM
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
OK Everyone:I am back from vacation. Sorry I was out of contact, but that's what vacations are supposed to be like. I will try to address everyone's needs and requests hopefully before the Solano Stroll.
- We are still at our same location 10855 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, at least until the end of the year, although our space is reduced.
- Intermediates will resume on Wednesday Sept. 10, 8am.
- Pandamentals on Saturdays, won't get going until October. I am really excited about this space as I have a whole new approach and organized technique that is sure to improve your playing.
- I am still working on resuming the Kids class as I have a a lot more requests from other parents.
- Tuesday evening classes in San Rafael resumes Sept. 16
, 6-8pm at the San Rafael Community Center on B Street.
- Our Thursday night Panjazz sessions also resume Sept. 11, 7pm.
Call me or email me with questions or concerns.
510 222 1123
Posted by Harry Best at 5:02 PM
Friday, March 21, 2014
It's been a while since we posted but we are alive and actively promoting our steel drum classes and programs. Here's what's happening:
- Mondays 4-5pm we have a kids class for ages 10-16. The kids are enjoying playing the latest pop and Caribbean tunes on steel drums, such as Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky". Classes are held at the PanWest Center 10855 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito 94530. At 7pm we have free introductory classes for anyone interested.
- Tuesdays 6-8pm we have Intermediate and Beginning steel drum classes respectively, in San Rafael. Here we've been in a Brazilian groove these past weeks with tunes like "Brazil", "Black Orpheus", and "Samba de Orfeo". For more information on these classes, call Harry Best at 510 222 1123.
- Wednesdays 8-9pm we are back at the Panwest Center in El Cerrito with another Intermediate class focusing on some of the same tunes.
- We just recently launched a Thursday night class at 7pm for professional musicians on other instruments who are interested in exploring steel drums. This class has been a real blast and is growing fast.
- Saturday mornings 10-11am, we have Pandamentals, fundamental drills for those wanting to get a more in depth understanding of the steel drum apart from just learning tunes.
- Friday night jams will be returning soon with appearances by local steel drum professionals and students of PanWest. Keep your eye on this blog for dates.
- Also, we plan to have some Pan in the Park picnics open to all students, their friends and family members, as well as the general public.
- Even with all he great activities we regret to announce that our landlord at Panwest plans to sell the building in El Cerrito so we may be moving soon. We'll keep you posted.
- Now is the time to get in and join the fun! Call Harry Best with any questions, at 510 222 1123.
Posted by Harry Best at 2:54 AM