A pannist is a person who plays the steelpan. A professional pannist can perform solo pieces, play with a steel band, or accompany one or more singers or solo instrumentalists. Pannists often play with their respective bands in large competitions, and generally memorize everything that they perform.
The pannist's top position in a steelband is that of the captain while large ensembles may also include section leaders, musicians that assist the captain.
Influential pannists include Ellie Mannette, inventor of several concepts in the construction of steelpan instruments and a tenor pan player, and Winston Simon, the inventor and a skilled player of the tenor pan.