Vol. 12 (2005)

Graded Examinations in Solo Steelpan Performance: A Caribbean Innovation in Music Education

Anne Marion Osborne
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus


  • Steelpan,
  • Centre for Creative and Festival Arts,
  • UWI,
  • St. Augustine,
  • Music Education,
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • ...More


The syllabus for graded examinations is solo steelpan performance was developed in 1994 as a collaborative effort among four lecturers at the Centre for Creative and Festival Arts (formerly the Creative Arts Centre), The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine. These pioneering examinations were first held in 1995, and they fill a gap in the existing British system of graded instrumental examinations that have been available in Trinidad and Tobago for all instruments, except for the pan, for more than 80 years. To date, almost 2,000 persons, most of them children, have been examined, with approximately 95 percent obtaining certificates. Although designed for national use, pan examinations have been held in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and extra-regionally in Maryland, USA.