Who We Are

Barrels to Beethoven is an organization focused on the preservation, education, and innovation of the steelpan. Founded by Leigh Solomon Pugliano, Barrels to Beethoven utilizes the steelpan, an afro-Caribbean instrument, as the tool for our educational programming. Sometimes called the steeldrums in America, the correct name of the instrument is steelpan or pan. In order to preserve the steelpan, we provide engaging, entertaining, and interactive opportunities for our community, especially youth, to learn about the steelpan which includes historical context and building technique. Our ultimate goal is to provide a unique but impactful option for music and arts education while developing a new generation of steelpan players, builders, tuners, and enthusiasts,  ensuring the growth and advancement of this new musical instrument.

Barrels to Beethoven offers uniquely impactful programs developed by Leigh Solomon Pugliano based on her expertise in steelpan education, curriculum development, steelpan history, and youth development. Students of all ages thoroughly enjoy learning all aspects of the steelpan and performance. In addition, children and youth who participate in our steelpan education programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, self-esteem, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.

Program Offerings and Workshops

We offer a broad range of learning opportunities for folks of all ages, including:

Lessons: Individual, Group, Adult Band, Youth Ensemble

Steelpan in the Classroom: A curriculum developed specifically for ages 8-14 and brought into the classroom. Sessions can be developed for six week or year long courses

Pan camp: A week-long summer camp for youth ages 8-14. During the week children are introduced to the steelpan, taught steelpan technique, the history and culture of the instrument and performance skills. At the end of the week, the camp puts on a performance for family and friends!

Educational Performances

Pan Builders Workshop: An in-depth course on building and tuning the steelpan

We’re celebrating 5 years! Read more about our work here

Support our Pillars of Pan Fundraising Campaign!

In 2020 we plan to expand our Pillars of Pan (POP) program which we piloted this year. POP expands the programming to include the original vision of Barrels to Beethoven by equipping a class of young people and adults to be competent champions of the steelpan, Afro-Caribbean culture, music, and their community. In the Caribbean, the steelpan is a means of expression, creativity, innovation, competition, celebration, and connection. The steel band movement did not begin as just a way for Afro-Caribbean people to make music, but to also challenge a society and its economically- and culturally-oppressive systems. After the banning of many instrumental art forms and cultural rituals specific to Afro-Caribbean people, the steelpan was developed as a near perfect representation of a colonized but resilient people, using both rhythm and melodic tones to create music.

With this, we’ll launch: the Pan Builders Apprenticeship program, expand the Barrels to Beethoven Youth Ensemble, and increase our in-school programs and educational  workshops. In order to do this, we will continue to work with community partners to expand programs and increase the number of people, especially youth, who learn about the instrument. 

Please consider supporting our Pillars of Pan Fundraising Campaign! Our goal is to raise $15,000 over the next 60 days.

We’ll use these funds to:

  • Expand into a larger education space
  • Pilot the Pan Builders Apprenticeship Program
  • Increase programs in Wilkinsburg and surrounding areas

Here’s how you can help:

  • Make a contribution through the Pillars of Pan Donation Page
  • Connect us to a great partner in your community
  • Sponsor a program through your business
  • Host a team building or group workshop
  • Share our story!