Tag Archives: Dow ‘s Musical Foundation

Making Music On St Maarten Is Magical

7 Jun

Listening to an expert on the steel drum. He was amazing.


Yesterday in St Maarten we decided to go on a different type of tourist adventure. We have been on this island several times and had no desire to tour around the island or go shopping. But we did find the perfect experience. We learned to play steel pan drums. 

A tour from our cruise ship went to the school run by Dow’s Musical Foundation. There we experienced the Caribbean music of the steel pan drums and practiced with a group to actually play a song on the drums.  

Who knew there were several types of drums?  Well there are: tenor, bass and one in between. Some are for the melody, others to hold the beat. Most of the drums comes in sets of two. There are two octaves, but the notes are devided between the two drums. Except for the base.  Those playing the base had to play on five different and much bigger drums. 

A magical moment playing the steel pan drums!


At first I was a little slow. But eventually I got into the beat with the help of one of the teachers (who is from Kentucky!). 

 Going back and forth between the two drums was a bit confusing at first, but soon my brain caught up and my hands used the drum sticks. It was sort of like playing the hammered dulcimer. A gentle snap of the hand to get the best sound! 

But the highlights was a short performance by one of the school’s founders. His passion for the music, his sense of rhythm and his joy were contagious and amazing. We then had the opportunity to listen to a group of school children as they preformed a song. These were students from one of the schools who take music lessons there. 


Over 1100 students have the opportunity to learn music. To support the foundation, we purchased a cd adding a liitle extra.  

It was worth it to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they focused on their playing, on their instructors and us. 

 I am so glad we took the opportunity to do something different and put a little musical magic in our lives!