The Venice High School Music Department continues to grow this school year as Mr. David Lee, new full-time music teacher, now teaches a steel drum class. Not only is this the first time Venice High School is offering this class, but Venice is the only high school in the entire district to have steel drums, said Mr. Lee.
Students can still sign up for this dual enrollment class where students can receive college credit through West LA College. However they must already have a student ID with West LA. The class meets every Tuesday and Thursday in Room 4 from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m.
Steel drums or steel pans are pitched percussion instruments originating from the Caribbean. At first glance they may look like large steel trashcans, but they are in fact carefully hand-constructed instruments. Steel pan ensembles traditional play calypso music, but ensembles can play latin, jazz, and even popular music.
Even though the semester has just started, students in his Period 2 Instruments Class have already learned to play songs like “La Bamba” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Students are beginning to work on “Viva La Vida.” One of the most recognizable songs that feature Steel pans is “Under the Sea” from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.
“Students who are interested in picking up a fun musical instrument, while learning to read music should definitely take advantage of this special opportunity,” said Mr. Lee who is especially excited about the exploration of different genres of music, and fun opportunities for the students. In addition to performing at local community events and the school’s end of year concert in May, the ensemble will have the opportunity to be hired for gigs.
If you are interested in taking the class, talk to your counselor. In the mean time, stop by Room 4 after school on a Tuesday or Thursday to see live music making in action!