Music is one of the few truly global languages that nearly everyone can speak. From a lullaby we hear as a baby, to the time we first hit our spoons on our bowls and know we can make sounds, we are aware of music. Many scientific studies have shown that it helps to form a child’s ability to learn, develop motor skills and cognitive abilities such as reading and language skills.
In keeping with empowering children to use, explore and develop their musical expression, the worldwide trend toward installing permanent musical equipment in playgrounds has taken off. This represents a tremendous opportunity for all children, regardless of age, economic background or even physical ability, to enjoy expressing themselves through music. Drums, bells, chimes, xylophones and more, can be made available to them to learn how to make each note on their own, without having to wait for formal instruction.
What are the benefits of playground instruments?
1. Improved Cognitive Development
Building a child’s reasoning skills is perhaps the biggest advantage when it comes to children learning about music. A five-year study was conducted by neuroscientists at The University of Southern California. Their findings after two years of starting the music instruction, saw the participating children’s auditory systems developed faster than was found in other children. They noticed that this training of the auditory pathway through music training accelerates the child’s reading and language development.
Making instruments available on the playground gives many more children access to learn music, where they might not have this opportunity due to a lack of access to formal music training. Many schools just don’t have the funds for formal instruction and it can be out of the budget for parents to pay for private instruction.
2. Emotional Health
For kids of all ages, playing music is fun. It can let a child express themselves and creatively build their confidence, one note after the other. These playground instruments use the pentatonic scale, so it is easier to make the music sound good, without hitting sharps or flats. No formal music training is required to get positive musical results.
Playing music can also improve your mood and decrease depression and anxiety. This is not only the case for younger people, but these instruments have been used as therapy for the physically disabled and the elderly, whose skills and mental faculties are declining. The combination of physical involvement required to make the music and mental stimulation has even helped recovery from stroke and other memory impairments. This promotes the memory of reminiscences from the good times of their life, enabling them to have a more positive emotional and happy state of mind.
3. Social Benefits
These instruments can be a vital part of a public playground. Group playing and just letting musical innovation happen between all age groups is a great way for children and the community to come together. The different types of instruments allow for many people playing at once without sounding bad. Group playing also allows children to feel part of something enjoyed by other people together, without worrying about not knowing how to play correctly.
With so many positive benefits, it’s no wonder the playground instruments are finding their way into more and more playgrounds and public spaces around the world. They can be the gateway to unlock a child’s learning ability and creativity, or it can be vital therapy for people with physical and emotional impairments. Design creativity is the key and the time to build these into your school and community park is now.