Voices of steel: a case study of a Pennsylvania high school steel band
Boyce, Derek S.
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Steel bands have become more prevalent in U.S. schools since the early 1980's. Through discussions with several of the leading steelpan builders in the United States, it is now estimated that there are over 600 steel bands in U.S. schools and universities. An appealing aspect of these ensembles is that they attract a wide range of students, from accomplished instrumentalists to students with no musical background. Due to their uniqueness in school music programs, steel bands are often extra-curricular activities but are often highly sought after for performances. This case study examines students' motivations to play in steel band (nontraditional music ensembles) including informal music education and learning, pedagogy, curriculum, and repertoire. It was found that students are attracted to the ensemble due to the uniqueness of the instruments, the repertoire, and for the opportunity to be part of a close community. Students value the opportunity for learning music in an informal manner where they are able to have input on the instructional process and what material is performed.