Leticia Viljoen

Steel Band Workshops for Schools

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Hi! My name is Tish, and am from The Steel Workshop! A new and exciting venture to bring music education to children using steel drums. When I was 12 years old, I was introduced to the sounds and performance of a live steelband at my school, and was instantly hooked! I had no idea what a steelband was, but it was the most amazing thing I had ever heard and seen, and I immediately said "I want to be part of that!"

I am now 32 years old, and have been playing the steel drum and participating in bands for 20 years. I am a New Zealand Citizen, living in Auckland, and have been performing with The Caribbeanz Southern Stars Steelband for 8 years, for which I have been the Musical Director.

In 2013 & 2015, we participated in the Australian Steel Band Festivals where there were a total of 10 steelbands which took part. In 2013, we were the only steelband from New Zealand, one from Oman, and the rest all from Australia. In 2015, we were one of two New Zealand bands, and the rest from Australia. This showed us that it is something that is definitely alive and known in Australia, but it also made us realize that the steelband community in New Zealand is still very young, but has the potential to grow!

In the festival, there were a number of young school bands who performed, and this blew me away! It reminded me of my school years, and seeing the looks of joy and excitement on the children's faces as they performed in front of the crowd, just made me want to bring this into the schools in New Zealand!

Since then, I have had the ambition to teach the steel drum to young students in schools, and have had the opportunity to work with a school up North in Ruakaka, called Bream Bay College, who owns a small set of steel drums, and has established their steelband, now known as The Panimals. The school is extremely excited and proud of their band, and I hope to use them as an example for other schools who may also be interested in starting their own steelband.


With the assistance of this project, I hope to raise enough money to help assist me in purchasing a set of steel drums (a small orchestra), to do "travelling workshops" to schools around Auckland. I am the director of The Steel Workshop, and hope to create enough interest amongst the teachers and students so that we can create more school steelbands, as well as bring something different to the children, who I know will absolutely love it!

The history of the steel drum also brings an introduction to Caribbean culture and its amazing heritage.


There is a lot to tell you, but in short, it is the national instrument of Trinidad & Tobago, and was invented in the 1930's. They are made from 55 Gallon Oil Drums, and tuned to difference voices, ranging from tenor, alto, soprano and bass. Steelbands (or steel orchestras) can range from 3 players, up to 120 players!

They are hand made by highly skilled Pan Makers & Tuners, but unfortunately we do not have a pan maker living in New Zealand, and therefore need to import these instruments. I will be importing them from an established Trinidadian Pan Maker living in Australia, who has helped build up the steel band movement in Australia.

 It is a fantastic instrument to captivate our youth, as well as bring a different approach to learning music. You don't need to know how to read music, and is a great tool to bring a class or group of people together. It also creates happiness and a sense of self-satisfaction when performing, while also captivating audiences around you with its festive and enchanting sounds. The steel drum (or pan) is also quite commonly used for remedial and rehab purposes.

I have the best fun when performing and teaching this instrument to people. It makes me happy, and I want to share this fun and enthusiasm with our youth here in Aotearoa.  This is my absolute dream, and I look forward to this opportunity!





    Thank you to everyone who has helped support me over this Boosted Campaign!  I am in total awe of how much support and encouragement that I have received!!!

    The campaign still has a few days left to go!!  So if you still feel you would like to help and support, please feel free to donate!  Every fund raised will go towards helping me purchase the set of steel pans, which will help me bring this amazing instrument to all of the schools around Auckland and (hopefully) beyond!

    Thank you all again so much!  Your support is well appreciated!  

    Tish x




  • Video Link


  • Workshops with Bream Bay College



  • Bream Bay Workshops - Learning Under the Sea


    This is a collection of some videos I had of us learning the Little Mermaid's Under The Sea.  

    I travelled up north on regular visits to hold workshops with The Bream Bay College students.  This was one of the songs that we worked on over a couple of workshop sessions.  They then performed it live at our annual Carnival Night which was held on 16th April 2016 in Auckland.

    The students love performing this song, and you can see this by their enthusiasm and happy vibe that they show while playing the pans.  


    Bream Bay Workshops - Learning Under the Sea