Outdoor musical instruments in the playground provide a non-threatening and fun outlet for creative and emotional expression and, through the medium of music, many essential life skills can be learned. Music can have a profound effect on anyone, but the benefits of exposing a child with special needs to music can be huge.
Socially, music is a great leveler. There is no right or wrong in music, so it holds no fear for children, who feel safe to experiment with self-expression. This leads to a sense of achievement and pride that may be difficult to find elsewhere, particularly for those with low levels of motivation. The subsequent increased self-esteem and confidence can then be transferred to other areas of their lives. Through music, a child can express their emotions, develop a sense of rhythm (which will, in turn, support their physical development), develop their communication skills, benefit from auditory and tactile stimulation (through the vibrations of the music) and relax.
Every child can be helped to learn to enjoy and become involved in music to some degree. Instruments tuned to a harmonic pentatonic or simple scale produce a soothing sound straightaway, making them instantly enjoyable.
All children have the same need to express themselves. Music therapy can be of inestimable value for children who have difficulties in hearing, seeing, moving, thinking or responding; each can experience the music in their own unique way.
Music therapy has proven to be a very effective method in dealing with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Most children diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s lack the social skills that enable them to participate fully in play and other social situations. Interestingly, many children with autism show a heightened interest in music and instruments possess qualities of sound and tone irresistible enough to reach a child in a direct, uncomplicated manner. While they may be unable to easily communicate verbally with others, music is an avenue for many autistic people to express themselves and communicate in a non-verbal, non-threatening manner. Playing music puts the individual at ease, allowing for strides in social interactions to follow.
Easy access to outdoor musical instruments may provide an outlet that encourages children to use music to deal with emotional issues, especially when they are unable to express them through speech. Where words fail, music may be a medium through which to explore one's inner world and experiences. Often people with developmental delays and learning disabilities such as Down's syndrome will respond to music. The responses may range from a small smile, a ‘yeah!’, a little singing, or even some dancing. The easy, non-challenging way in which instruments can be played offers opportunities for response and expression to children and adults with such developmental delays.
Outdoor musical instruments in the playground offer blind or partially sighted children the opportunity to explore musical sound and awareness. The instruments are simple to play and enable creative experimentation and tactile exploration. They encourage the use of motor skills, developing coordination whilst stimulating the imagination. For children with very limited movement, the placing of their hands on the vibrating lids of drums or anywhere on the Emperor Chimes or Tubular Bells can elicit a positive response as the vibrations travel through the child's skin. Varying the pressure and volume of the beat will enhance the sensory experience for them.
For children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, playing music may be an effective way to stimulate speech development and communication skills, express emotions, develop a sense of rhythm and provide the opportunity for physical, cognitive, and motor development whilst creating an environment for socialisation and fun.
Music is a tool that is used in pain management and healing for children undergoing medical procedures and as a comfort for those who have suffered a traumatic experience, making outdoor musical instruments ideal for the gardens and outdoor areas of hospices, hospitals and therapy centres. Music is a healer and the enjoyment and stimulation of music, either as a participatory activity or as relaxation, provides a wonderful, albeit temporary, distraction from the daily pain and discomfort of their condition.
Outdoor musical instruments, such as those from Percussion Play, can be installed individually or in groups. So, in addition to musical benefits, playing in an ensemble is useful for working on concepts such as co-operation with others, coordination, and a sense of accomplishment. Making music and singing songs together in a group can build a harmonious cooperative spirit of support and encouragement for everyone. Children who experience severe obstacles in forming relationships with other children, adults, and their environment can achieve security and joy in making music.
To see, hear and play musical instruments is an important cultural experience for every child. We aim to make Percussion Play accessible to all and try to consider the individual needs of all players including wheelchair users and those with special needs. The outdoor musical instruments can be installed at varying heights and in numerous arrangements, can be supplied with beaters to suit individual needs, and are available in bright stimulating colours.
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Percussion Play is a creative outdoor musical instrument manufacturer, determined to add harmony, soul, and energy to outdoor play environments across the world.
A wide range of outdoor percussion instruments is manufactured by hand at their workshop in Hampshire, UK, and distributed to play areas across the globe.
Contact Percussion Play today if you're interested in exploring opportunities to bring a little creative harmony to the world's play spaces or visit the Percussion Play website to see what's available.