NSSBE Inaugural Conference: Saturday, March 10, 2018

The National Society of Steel Band Educators will host its inaugural professional conference on Saturday, March 10, 2018 on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The conference will be open to members only, with registration available both in advance and on site. 

The conference will feature select presentations by leading experts in the steel band idiom. Sessions will follow a variety of formats, including demonstrations, panel discussions, clinics, and performances. NSSBE Steering Committee members, Mike Greer and Mike Wendeln, will serve as conference co-chairs.

Make plans to attend now, and be a part of history as NSSBE hosts its first professional meeting! Registration costs are $60 for regular NSSBE members and $20 for student NSSBE members. Sponsors need not register as they already have paid for registration for the conference (for one person) through their sponsorship. Brandon Haskett will be contacting each the sponsors regarding attendance and booths.

Here is a partial hotel list for the NSSBE conference. Session descriptions are listed below:


The conference will run from 9AM-4:30PM. Specific times for the following sessions are coming later in January.

Hands-On Trinidadian Engine Room Session

Presenter: Dave Longfellow, Director of the Virginia Rhythm Arts Project

This interactive session will focus on expanding the performer and/or director’s knowledge of percussion styles common to the “Panorama-style” steel band through an examination of engine room techniques common to the Trinidadian steel band. The session will explore various approaches to instrumentation and rhythmic grooves with regard to typical musical styles such as soca, calypso, kaiso, and Latin. In addition, Longfellow will demonstrate advanced techniques for steel band drumset players, including how to direct or control the band from the drumset, “drilling,” and other helpful concepts that are useful in improving a band’s sound. 


Touch and Sound: Practical Elements of Steel Pan Performance

Presenter: Victor Provost, George Mason University

In this session, pan artist, composer and educator Victor Provost will offer his thoughts on how best to approach playing steel pan instruments. Provost will offer tips for developing proper steel pan technique, discuss the importance of effective sticking choices, and demonstrate short, effective exercises designed to increase proficiency. He will also address the impact of dynamics on ensemble playing, and explore best practices in steel pan performance, based on his years of experience in the idiom.


Integrating Brasilian Percussion Instruments Into the Engine Room

Presenter: Dr. Jason Koontz, Eastern Kentucky University

Steel band directors may encounter Brasilian musical styles such as samba and bossa nova in the pan repertoire, yet they may have little knowledge or experience in how to deal with Brasilian percussion instruments. This hands-on session will explore traditional techniques and rhythms used for Brasilian percussion instruments, with discussion on how to integrate these instruments into your steel band engine room.


Performance: Victor Provost with Miami University Steel Band and Special Guests

Presider: Dr. Chris Tanner, Miami University

The 2018 Conference closes with a performance featuring Victor Provost along with members of the Miami University Steel Band, as well as special guest musicians Rusty Burge, vibraphone; Michael Sharfe, bass; and John Taylor, drums. The performance will include repertoire from the steel band idiom, along with jazz standards performed by Provost and the guest musicians. A culminating piece will combine all performing forces.


Roundtable Discussion: Topics TBD

Moderator: Dr. Brandon Haskett, Saginaw Valley State University

A roundtable discussion will provide an opportunity for experts in the field to address questions relating to steel band pedagogy or other topics of interest within the steel band idiom. Conference registrants are encouraged to submit ideas or topics for this roundtable session via e-mail ([email protected]) no later than February 15, 2018. Conference co-chairs and the NSSBE Board of Directors will convene a discussion panel for the roundtable session based on suggestions submitted.


  • Must be a NSSBE member to be eligible for conference registration. If not a current member, please register before completing this form.
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