Joseph Peck is a musician, educator, and producer of music and educational programs featuring the steel drum instrument. He attended Wichita State University, where he earned his degree in Music Education. In 1996, he traveled to Trinidad, the birthplace of the steel drum, and performed with Potential Symphony (a 120-member steel drum band) for the Panorama National Steel band Competition. Joseph went on to direct the Steel Pan Orchestra and teach World Music at Wichita State University. As an accredited artist with the Missouri Arts Council and Wichita Arts Partners, a division of Young Audiences, Joseph has conducted numerous performances and educational workshops.
Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2002, Joseph has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Scott Weiland, Cyndi Lauper, the Survivor House Band (CBS – reality show), Ryan Gosling, and Didi Benami (American Idol). In 2012, Joseph released his first solo album titled “Free-Flow Steelpan Meditations, Volume 1”, an album that explores the sonic possibilities of the steel drum. As a performing artist, he gives steel drum presentations for the City and County of Los Angeles Libraries, and performs live and in the studio for various Latin, reggae, rock, and world music projects. Joseph holds a valid State of California Music Education K-12 Credential and is a published contributor in “Teaching in the Diverse Classroom: Learner-Centered Activities that Work”.
Joseph’s music workshops introduce students to the innovation, development, and cultural significance of the steel drum instrument. Through the use of audio and visual materials, students are introduced to Calypso, Caribbean Jazz, Soca, and Panorama styles of music. Students study the instrument’s origins in Trinidad, and learn about the development of an instrument made entirely from 55-gallon oil barrels, which is considered one of the only acoustic musical instruments invented in the 20th century. Through hands-on activities, students learn basic hand and stick techniques for steel drums and other percussion instruments that make up a “carnival engine room”.
By participating in performance and audience groups, and through group discussion, students gain skills enabling them to creatively express themselves though music. They constructively critique their fellow students by listening and responding in a thoughtful manner. Workshop activities strengthen students’ abilities to listen, play rhythmic and melodic phrases, and compose original music. Participants have the opportunity to play steel drums, bongos, shakers, cowbells, woodblocks, bamboo sticks, brake drums, and other percussion instruments.