It has been almost two years when we have started to discuss with Santa Run Komotini organization about the implementation of a design concept that Technical Chamber of Thrace has made for Recovery and rehabilitation Center of Children with Disabilities in Komotini. The scope? Renovating an old garden into an interactive, colorful, sensory garden for the children of this Center.
The Center is providing for free accommodation, food, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, creative activities to children from all over Greece, suffering from incurable physical disabilities or severe mental retardation. The work is hard to manage and the team that constitutes the center (therapists, cook, university students, volunteers, administrative staff, outsourced doctors) is trying to overcome all obstacles. It has to be mentioned, as heartbreaking as it is, that the majority of the children are
abandoned and there is no biological member willing to pay any visit.
The project was challenging as it has been fully covered by donations; Santa Run Komotini 2021, Stivos, GevaTrans and many other individual donators have contributed to the realization. Through Calypso Chime Quatro Post, Rainbow Trio Bongos and UrbanGym StepWalk, Elite Areas has contributed to this inclusive environment, where music, color and movement heals the soul and the body.
“During a period of sad news, incidents of mass violence and children participating in gangs, it is really important to promote and embrace the value of volunteering and social solidarity. We are welcoming all schools to pay a visit in our facilities, so as to understand these values, in an effort to develop human beings becoming part of this offering chain since early years of their lives.“
Anastasia Tzabazli, Head of Social Welfare Center of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace
Location: Recovery and Rehabilitation Center of Children with Disabilities, Komotini
Realization: October 2023
Products by: Percussion Play, Denfit
Architects: Savvas Stroubas,
Lambrini Chalatzidou, Vasiliki Simitopoulou
Study Design: Technical Chamber of Thrace
Curator: Artemis Tsolaki
Palaiometocho is a village in the Nicosia District of Cyprus, about 20km southwest of the city of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. It is a village counting around 4,500 inhabitants.
As part of the renovation of the community park, the Palaiometocho Community Council proceeded in installing eight outdoor musical instruments provided by Elite Areas. A bouquet of Harmony Flowers, Sansa Rimba xylophone, Cavatina colorful xylophone, contemporary lyre through Bell Lyre, Rainbow Bongos, Soprano Diatonic Freechimes and Handpipes Aerophone.
The project was funded through the implementation of the “Grant Scheme for the Revitalization of Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas through the Creation of Authentic Experiences to Enrich and Upgrade the Tourism Product” program of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism. This project stands as a benchmark in Cyprus; it is a pioneering project for Cypriot standards as it is the only music park in the entire island.
The residents of the community as well as the surrounding communities embraced this new project. It’s great to watch people of all ages, children, parents, seniors, playing with the instruments while filling the air with beautiful tunes. The community park has taken on a new lease of life and is buzzing with life every day. One of the future plans of the Community is hosting of an outdoor concert.
“The music park acquisition has contributed to the improvement of the quality of life of our community’s residents. This innovative music garden constitutes a place of relaxation and recreation. Both young and old can enjoy a morning or an afternoon of leisure and relaxation in the village park accompanied by music. Additionally, it is an alternative entertainment option that nurtures creativity and promotes socialization among all population groups, including children, the elderly, and people with special abilities. We are delighted by the fact that the music garden in Palaiometocho is not only a center of attraction for the residents of our community but for every visitor as well.”
Andreas Kyprianou, President of Palaiometocho Community Council
Location: Palaiometocho Village, Cyprus
Realization: October 2023
Products by: Percussion Play
Architect: Rena Kattou
Funded by: Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Cyprus
In Lyttos Beach Hotel and Lyttos Mare Exclusive Beach Resort, two 5-star exclusive family resorts located at Hersonissos that are part of the S Resorts Group hotel chain, guests can take advantage of the sporting and family-friendly offers on more than 20 hectares and escape the stress of everyday life.
As an additional offer for the children, there was a wish for a spacious play area. Three tennis courts in a 1,800 m² area were reconstructed for the new “Lyttopia”.
The newly created area includes a sheltered seating area with a bar and snacks for the little ones, a music garden with percussion instruments, as well as mini golf courses and a 900 m² playground. Client’s desire was to design a playground facility that would be a benchmark for playground facilities in the hotel industry.
Therefore, there was a selection of very high and impressive rope structures, also acting as an attraction beacon, in combination with smaller ones. By this, the play structures are utilized by different age groups, and it is easy to achieve high-simultaneous capacity.
The design approach of “Lyttopia” provides the ability to children to play on their own, along with their parents and/or under the presence of animateurs.
“This new area is being built near the water park and the entrance and should create a wow effect for those arriving”
Pantelis Sapounakis, CEO of S Resorts
“The playground is amazing! Very spacious and colourful!”
Tatiana Orfanoudaki, TUI
“A colorful world for the little ones in the family!”
Maria Gkouma, Der Touristik
Location: Lyttos Beach, Hersonissos, Crete
Realization: April 2022
Products by: Berliner Seilfabrik, Percussion Play, MiniGolf35
Construction: Tsirogiannis Construction Company
Κάθε μέρα από τη Λεωφόρο Δωδώνης περνούν πολλά παιδιά και γονείς, καθώς πηγαίνουν προς το σχολείο τους. Μετά τις διακοπές των Χριστουγέννων, μια έκπληξη περίμενε όλους τους περαστικούς. Πίσω από ένα δέντρο ακούστηκε μια μελωδία να συνοδεύει το βηματισμό. Ήταν μια νέα προσθήκη· ένα μουσικό πιάνο δαπέδου. Τα παιδιά χαμογελώντας πηδούσαν, έτρεχαν, χόρευαν πάνω στα μουσικά πλήκτρα, ενώ μελωδίες καθαρές, με διακριτικούς τόνους, ηχούσαν. Πολλοί ήταν οι μικροί μας φίλοι που έπαιξαν τα κάλαντα των Χριστουγέννων, αποχαιρετώντας έτσι τις γιορτές, και επιστρέφοντας στα σχολεία.
Το Baby Floor Piano, όπως υποδηλώνει το όνομα, είναι το μικρότερο πιάνο της Percussion Play. Είναι δεδομένο πως μικροί και μεγάλοι θα λατρέψουν τα μηχανικά πλήκτρα δαπέδου. Σχεδιασμένο για απόδοση σε όλα τα περιβάλλοντα, και πλήρως προσβάσιμο σε αναπηρικά αμαξίδια, αυτό τα όργανο θα επιτρέψει στους βιρτουόζους να συνθέσουν τη δική τους μουσική, καθώς πηδούν, τρέχουν ή χορεύουν κατά μήκος στις νότες. Η κατασκευή του από υψηλής αντοχής ανοξείδωτο μέταλλο, προσφέρει αντοχή σε βανδαλισμούς.
«Το μικρό μουσικό πιάνο αποτελεί έναπραγματικά πολ΄ύ ευχάριστο διάλειμμα στην πρωινό ή απογευματινό περίπατο μικρών και μεγάλων», Δήμαρχος Καθηγητής κ. Μ. Ελισάφ
Εγκατάσταση: Ιανουάριος 2022
Προϊόν: Percussion Play
Σε συνεργασία με: Τετράγωνο ΑΤΕΒΕ
The Evolution of Playspaces – How Landscape Architects are Adapting our Outdoor Spaces for Intergenerational Community Recreation
Landscapes are the settings for great human memories, and undoubtedly lockdown has made us all realize just how precious our open spaces are, particularly in high-density cities. These essential spaces are a vital factor in the well-being of individuals and the community and there is actually little difference in our fundamental need for, and the use of, open space regardless of generation, age group, or culture.
Creating a great experience is one of landscape architects’ primary considerations when designing the greens, squares, streets, marketplaces, parks, and gardens that we all identify as outdoor public spaces. The physical, mental, and cultural activities of humans require amongst other things spaces to breathe and to be inspired, spaces to linger, to exercise, to dream, to meet by intention or by chance, and be creative.
Public spaces – being a place of free and open access – is traditionally linked to social, cultural, or economic exchanges, and are once again gaining increasing importance as a component of everyday quality of life, especially in urban areas. Loneliness and disconnection are on the rise, exacerbated by social distancing, and the disruption of normal routines, and those disconnections manifest themselves in other health issues for individuals including depression. In fact, loneliness is seen by many as one of the largest health concerns we face this century and the importance of social connection and relationships has been brought into sharp relief by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Growing public attention to loneliness in our communities has been accompanied by designers and landscape architects beginning to challenge traditional modes of play and playground design and extending the role of open play spaces to include a range of different social agendas, which includes combating loneliness in all ages. The provision and use of these public open spaces (including privately owned spaces with areas for public use, such as shopping malls and public libraries), can have an essential role in promoting social cohesion, intergenerational connections, and opportunities for shared creativity.
We have historically divided our communities and our activities by ethnicity, language, age, and ability, but the potential for the hybridization of play spaces, where the spatial boundaries between adults and children’s activities merge, can result in innovative and uplifting settings which encourage connections and help secure the future prosperity of a community. One simple way to make this happen is through the introduction of outdoor musical instruments. Making music brings people together like nothing else and offering quality musical opportunities – on real instruments – for spontaneous music-making, provides an engaging experience where nobody is excluded from the fun whatever their ability, mobility, or age.
The notion of intergenerational activity and play has increasingly drawn attention over recent years, and a growing body of scholarly literature has begun to point more and more towards the premise that when adults and in particular seniors become involved in cross-generational learning activities with children and adolescents, huge benefits are accrued by both parties. Adding intergenerational play elements such as outdoor musical instruments to public spaces encourages connectivity and due to its universal appeal, playing music can successfully bridge intergenerational gaps. The combined effects of musical play and intergenerational social participation have proven to be incontrovertibly beneficial for the improvement and maintenance of both the physical and mental health of seniors. Given the opportunity to participate, regardless of physical or psychological impairments, intergenerational musical play in public spaces can serve as a fruitful, meaningful, and financially accessible activity for them.
Music is able to bring a diverse group of people together in the community because it transcends language limitations – instead providing its own language of rhythm and melody to enable its players and users to communicate with each other non-verbally. Providing opportunities for members of a community to be around each other in this way promotes familiarity and the formation of healthy relationships and helps to engender a sense of belonging for those who participate. It is apparent then that music can help us to develop a more cohesive society if access to it is provided and engagement promoted.
This growing body of emerging research is starting to relate music-making with place-making and specifically with the creation of an authentic community and the breaking down of stereotypes, all whilst simultaneously working to improve cognitive function, emotional capacity, and physical wellbeing of participants. Just as public music spaces bring people together and create a sense of civic vitality for communities, it’s also restorative for the individual.
While the pandemic has created enormous challenges, it has also potentially brought about positive change. The isolation it provoked was a good reminder of how much we need others — and places in which to be together — even in less trying times. Community wellbeing in the future depends on our taking a more joined-up harmonious approach to the use of public space and perhaps a little more music in the public realm could be the stimuli for positive community relations and a little less loneliness.
When we lose those dearest to us, commissioning a memorial to celebrate their life can be the hardest task facing us. However, it can also be the most rewarding.
Finding a lasting and meaningful way to remember a loved one can bring comfort at a time of loss. Choosing the right way to honor and to celebrate someone’s life or work can be immensely healing to the bereaved who are comforted knowing that they’re creating something beautiful to honor a memory. The act of creating a meaningful memorial is a validation of grief and love as well as an empowering act of healing and a channel for energy. It is extremely powerful to have the opportunity to think deeply around just what it is about the loved one that is to be remembered and the subject of their memorial. These acts can be done individually, as a family, or as a community.
More often than not, memories of a loved one involve music, laughter, fun, and togetherness – all things that can be incorporated into their memorial and celebration of their life. A dedicated outdoor musical instrument, music park, or trail is a joyful, lasting public tribute and an increasingly popular way for a special person’s name to live on in the heart of the community. Music is a celebration of life, full of positivity and sunshine, and a music memorial in the great outdoors can bring harmony and light into the lives of others – helping to convey something that can’t easily be put into words.
One of the biggest fears people have after the death of a loved one is that the person will be forgotten. This is even more acute when the person who died has lived a short life and choosing a suitable memorial to commemorate a young life can be particularly difficult. A musical instrument or musical space for the community to enjoy in the park or school playground could be the perfect way to celebrate the life of a friend, brother, or sister who has left this world far sooner than expected or imagined. Dedicating a sustainable legacy of inclusive music-making opportunities for other young people to enjoy in the name of a young person with a passion for music, will inspire creativity, bring people together, and smiles to faces.
There is nothing quite like time spent outdoors in a beautiful space for remembering a loved one. A memorial music garden can act as a healing place for contemplation, somewhere to offer a peaceful, calming atmosphere where families can sit and reflect, with musical instruments providing a non-threatening outlet for emotional expression. Stimulating sensory gardens are a much-loved feature with residents, families, and staff in nursing homes and senior centers. The gift of an outdoor musical instrument, such as outdoor chimes or xylophone, will create a wonderful sound, be visually attractive and encourage residents to take some gentle exercise and enjoy a little music-making outdoors in the sunshine. Visiting little ones will love exploring the instruments and all generations will enjoy the positive effects of bonding through playing music together, listening to each other, having fun, being outdoors, and being creative.
Musical memorials or tributes can be made on a grand scale – major city music parks with multiple instruments and stage for outdoor performances – or on a smaller scale such as a single drum, chimes, or xylophone donated as a remembrance gift to a special place they loved or to a local school, church, woodland or park. The size and tone can vary just as widely as the unique personalities of the individuals being memorialized. Percussion Play offers to custom engrave an instrument (where possible) to personalize it at no extra charge. However, often due to limited space on the instruments themselves, a memorial plaque, engraved with a personal inscription that reflects the loved one’s life, can be attached to or placed next to the instrument.
Music is a wonderful tool that can lift us up and what better way to honor someone who loved music, who loved the outdoors or had an adventurous spirit, than to bring provide an inclusive community place for individuals, families, or groups of friends to stroll, unwind and create great music together in a fun and carefree way.
Well-designed and accessible public spaces are an incredibly important asset to our towns and cities. They provide opportunities for people to come together and play a vital role in the social and economic life of communities.
Successfully designed outdoor public spaces are inclusive of the diversity of groups present within the community and create social places for everyone in that society to meet and participate. Indeed, the social value of open space lies in the opportunities it provides for social interaction, social mixing, and social inclusion. Creating a space that successfully engages people is an art form that heavily relies on innovation, accessibility, good design and the input of the community.
New kinds of public spaces and meeting places are being created in towns, cities and residential areas, including downtown locations, street markets, shopping precincts, community centres, parks, and neighborhood spaces. They include play areas, event or performance spaces as well as areas for rest and relaxation.
There are many factors that contribute to successful public spaces that are not solely in the hands of the architect, urban designer, or town planner; they also rely on people adopting, using, and managing the space – it’s true that people make places, more than places make people.
Child-friendly outdoor public spaces are especially important. They give young people an arena to learn some of the rules of communal life, exchange ideas, cement friendships, and learn new skills. It is imperative that cities and regions consider a more holistic approach to child development and supporting new and creative ways to foster and sustain learning beyond the classroom. One innovative approach to bringing education into the public realm is through playful learning – supporting adult-child interactions and neighborhood engagement in places where children and families regularly spend time. Alternative learning experiences that can heighten interest, spark creativity, and are socially interactive.
With their unusual shapes and wonderful sounds, outdoor musical instruments are both conversation starters and people magnets. They add a fun touch to public spaces whilst also being educational, therapeutic, and engaging. Intended to bring people together in unexpected ways, they foster exchange between the player and the passers-by – creating a comfortable atmosphere for individuals to truly express themselves while interacting with each other.
Putting an interesting twist on traditional playground equipment, outdoor musical instruments in a public space bring about opportunities for parents, grandparents, and guardians to share an activity with their children, explore their curiosity and teach them (or learn alongside them) new musical skills as well as a range of motor and social skills. Exploring the instruments can instigate conversations around a number of subjects including language, culture, color, and numbers.
Now more than ever we are seeing the importance of expanding opportunities for playful learning—that is, child-directed experiences that are driven by curiosity and exploration—outside of the classroom. Outdoor musical instruments can help transform everyday spaces into powerful learning opportunities for children and families. Easily installed and without requiring too much space or expensive surfacing, they can be used to reinvent everyday spaces as fun learning opportunities that organically prompt the kinds of interactions that help children thrive. Changing everyday spaces and making them more extraordinary.
Challenging our town and city planners to recognize the benefits of reimagining our public spaces as positive playful learning opportunities for all learners, young or old and with varying abilities, should see vibrant, welcoming spaces for everyone to use and enjoy.
Music has always been a powerful way to bring people together and we have a vision for creating family-friendly musical oases in towns and cities across the world.
Open-ended play is vital to a child’s development. It enables learning in a truly holistic way, through active play and exploration – with no instruction or direction. With no pre-determined limitations and no fixed answer – open-ended play means children simply follow their imagination and allow the play to go in any direction their creativity takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no right or wrong way to play – no rules, no expectations, no specific problems to solve, and no pressure to produce a finished product.
The Benefits of Open-Ended Play
The benefits for children engaging in open-ended play are numerous. Allowing for self-directed exploration and repetitive behaviors gives children the chance to experiment and consolidate their learning. Open-ended resources support this creativity while resources that are made for a purpose have a fixed outcome e.g. a large cardboard box can be a car, a shop, a spaceship whereas a puzzle will always be a puzzle. While it has its own educational benefits, it will only ever be one thing.
The creative nature of open-ended play also enhances cognitive skills, such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, self-regulation, and self-discovery.
Children can focus on ‘creating’, based on their inner inspiration and motivation. It is an outlet for a stream of continuous thought development and expression. Open-ended play links directly with the Early Years Foundation Stage, allowing practitioners to observe children using a multitude of skills – for example creating props to support role-play or investigating shape, space, and measure. These observations also link to the Characteristics of Effective Learning – fostering opportunities for children to create and think critically, play and explore and be active in their learning.
Music Fosters Open Ended Play
Unstructured outdoor musical play offers opportunities for children to discover ways to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and improvising with music is a wonderful way to foster open-ended play. Outdoor musical instruments located in parks and playgrounds allow children to explore their musical selves, including their originality, and offer a safe, secure space in which to experiment with improvisation.
Open-ended musical play differs from teacher-structured music time in an educational setting. Initiated by children of their own volition and intrinsically motivated, play and participation prevail performance. This is critical since many self-confidence issues regarding music and the performing arts are centered around the idea that you can “get it wrong” or that what you’ve created is less than perfect. Many of the Percussion Play outdoor musical instruments are tuned to a simple five-note musical scale called the pentatonic scale. Pentatonic scale notes are harmonious in whichever order they are played and great for developing musical skills and technique without tuition. Since it is impossible to play a ‘wrong’ note anyone can create music that sounds good – building the confidence of inexperienced or very young musicians and encouraging spontaneous musical behavior. Suddenly, musical composition isn’t just for prodigies – it’s a form of artistic expression that every child is capable of doing, free to experiment with new concepts as they realize there’s no right or wrong way to engage.
Although children are surrounded daily by a variety of musical experiences, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for them to actively and freely engage in the music-making itself. Modern life means they’re inundated with melodies emitted from computer games, phones, TV shows, and toys, meaning most of the music they encounter is “unchosen,” making them passive recipients of the music in their lives and not actively engaged in its selection or making. Given the chance, children are natural composers and love to experiment with the sounds all around them. The freedom of improvisation has significant effects on the development of a child’s creative musical thinking, and that musical originality—the way the child uniquely manipulates musical sounds—increases along with their musical potential.
Open-Play Environments to Practice and Hone Key Skills
Children grow emotionally, socially, creatively, and cognitively through spontaneous music and movement, with their impromptu musical performances often revealing what they are thinking, seeing, or doing. Even when their language isn’t quite at a level to articulate their fears, excitements, or opinions, the type of music they produce during open-ended play will speak volumes.
It is imperative that young children are given access to environments that support this musical freedom, interaction, and development as well as the time to enjoy them. The permanence of outdoor musical instruments means no tidying away at the end of the day, allowing children to constantly revisit and tweak their musical compositions or repeat their choice of learning – allowing them to merge all the information they have gathered when experimenting with pitch, tempo, and dynamics.
Playgrounds are an awesome place to encourage open-ended play. Spaces that children of all backgrounds can enjoy in play areas that fuel young imaginations, encourage interaction and engage all of the senses.
Encouraging Open-Ended Play
Open-ended play strips away all rules, expectations, and time frames, and encourages children to think for themselves. Children learn to react better in situations, they learn to make choices, and they feel more inspired. When a child is asked to solve an academic or a real-life problem, they will be better equipped to resolve it through using the skills they have practiced and learned during open-ended play.
Whether you’re playing with a child or asking about their play, use open-ended questions and avoid directing their play or taking over their lead. Nothing squashes open-ended play more than being told what or how to play. Follow their lead and nurture their creativity and problem-solving skills.
By permitting our resources, learning environments, and our support as adults to be open-ended, learning through play continues to be dynamic – and most of all, fun.
Outdoor Musical Instruments in Elementary Schools Help in The Race to Prevent Nature Deficit Disorder
We are spending more time inside than ever before – even though it is well documented that time spent in the great outdoors is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to maintain or improve our overall health and wellbeing. Computers, tablets, cell phones, and video games all compete to hog our attention and keep us from stepping outside into nature to decompress. Most concerning of all is the impact this lack of exposure to green outdoor space is having on the health of our children.
The concern about children spending too much time indoors has become so great that it has been given its own term – ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ or NDD. Although it’s not a recognized medical condition, concerns about its effects on young people’s wellbeing are attracting widespread attention.
Instead of basking in natural sunlight, many children today are spending hours of their time basking in the glow of some form of screen, disturbing their natural circadian rhythms, impacting their sleep quality, and forming a detachment from the natural world.
Problems such as difficulty concentrating, high-stress levels, and poor physical health. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and depression are common companions of a sedentary indoor lifestyle. Sunlight triggers the body’s vitamin D production, which in turn helps us fight off inflammation, lowers blood pressure, improves brain function, bone and muscle health. Being outside in fresh air and sunlight protects growing eyes, with the ample light of the outdoors preventing their eyes from working harder than they need to.
There is too much at stake here simply to accept the situation as an inevitable consequence of modernity. It is the joint responsibility of parents, educators, and urban planners to help this ‘indoor generation’ toeasily and safely spend more time outside, reconnecting with the natural world – wherever they are located. If children are given the opportunity to experience nature, even in simple ways, interaction and engagement follow quite naturally. Time spent outside needs to be an everyday occurrence, and if we design our cities—including our homes and schools—with an integrated approach, with landscaping and architecture blending to work in harmony with nature, it could become a commonplace pattern.
The Outdoor Classroom
Classrooms without walls are a great way to promote time spent outside for both outdoor learning and play. There are countless physiological, social, and academic benefits to learning outside – for both pupils and teachers – that indoor classroom lessons just cannot match. Outdoor learning encourages kid’s creativity, builds their attention spans, and increases their desire to explore, yet, despite the outdoors purported to be so significant and beneficial, it is still often overlooked or under-utilized when teaching elementary children.
Outdoor classrooms allow a school to offer daily opportunities to learn outside; a place for telling stories, a place for cooking, a place for supporting the arts, a place for play. Children can move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor spaces with alternative methods of learning providing a host of advantages for children, who often don’t realize they’re learning when outside.
Well-equipped outdoor classrooms provide wonderful opportunities to deliver unique and engaging experiences for pupils outside of classroom walls while exploring numerous subjects such as math, science, literacyand language, and unquestionably, music.
Music in The Outdoor Classroom
Some things just work better outdoors, and music is one of them!
A great music program uses the whole school environment. Musical instruments in your outdoor classroom and/or playground will encourage children to learn about music through free play and exploration – subtly integrating music and ‘outdoor time’ into their everyday school experience.
Children revel in the freedom to explore the range of sounds, tempos, and dynamics of the musical instruments and free play is what gives them mastery. Children often feel less inhibited outdoors and musical playground equipment will help introduce basic musical concepts whilst being sure that the focus is on the fun. This notion of experimentation, of flexibility, of just having a go are all elements needed to become confident, rounded musicians of the future.
Music is an intensely social experience; children learn to cooperate when making music together, combining their efforts to solve problems, make decisions, and work together towards a common goal. Collaboration is needed to create a new melody or rhythm and they’re required to listen to each other as well as the sounds produced, to share each other’s ideas and express their own. Children can fine-tune their listening skills outside and develop confidence in projecting their voices across the space.
Music also has an inherently physical dynamic; movement to music is a wonderful way to get kids active, offering opportunities for both fine and gross motor activity. Outdoor environments not only offer greater freedom of movement than a classroom but also allow for less constraint to ways of behaving and thinking, making the outdoors open to richer experiences due to the increased space and the creative possibilities it presents.
Children can learn to explore their emotions through music and can learn to share these emotions with others; plus, they’ll learn they can use music to affect their emotional state. When you are feeling angry, nothing makes you feel better than playing the drums real loud, right?
The introduction of an outdoor musical space or trail as part of a school’s outdoor education program will help children discover the joy and empowerment of music-making while reaping the benefits of time in the natural environment.
Watching a class of children playing outdoor instruments prove that, when presented with the opportunity, life outdoors is still something children benefit greatly from and, more importantly, enjoy.
From the earliest times, drums and their rhythms have been at the center of social and cultural activities all over the world, in fact, it is said to be man’s oldest musical percussion instrument. Drums have been used in every culture for many purposes from religious rituals and ceremonies, to sporting events and as a way to communicate or signal.
Drumming has also been used therapeutically since ancient times and now the primitive drumming circle is emerging as a significant therapeutic tool in the modern technological age. Drums and drumming are increasingly being used as a powerful means of improving health and well-being, personal development, and improving communication by large companies, service clubs, music therapists, youth groups, schools, and communities.
Drumming circles, ensembles, and making music together in a group can be a unifying experience – encouraging self-expression and camaraderie as well as lots of hands-on fun! Drumming together is a tool for unity. It breaks down barriers, builds personal and team confidence, releases stress, motivates, and creates spontaneity.
Many service clubs and community groups have created informal drum circles and workshops to bring children and adults together in a fun-filled, cooperative environment where they can build community spirit, and learn a new skill that they can even take away and share with their friends. Clubs such as the Wilmington Rotary who proudly unveiled the Jonathan P. Whitcomb Memorial Music Circle in their local park to engage the whole community and introduce music-making in the outdoors to people of all ages and all abilities. The music circle included several stainless-steel drums designed for permanent outdoor use and recommended for high-use public areas.
Drumming captures the heart of most who encounter it and with when playing hand drums, such as those used in the Wilmington Music Circle, you don’t have to worry about melody or chords, and absolutely NO previous musical experience is required.
So, it seems the drum continues to play a central role in our society. Why not find the rhythm and beat of your own drum? There are many drumming communities across the world promising anxiety release, physical toning, spiritual growth, creativity, and personal empowerment whilst being a whole lot of fun – and who couldn’t use that?
Benefits of Drumming and Drum Circles
Induces relaxation and reduces tension, anxiety, depression, and stress
Quite simply, drumming makes you feel great! It helps synchronize the body’s natural rhythms while making you feel as one – connected and peaceful. In one study, blood samples from participants who took part in an hour-long drumming session revealed a reversal in stress hormones.
Gives a boost to the immune system and accelerates physical healing.
Neurologist Barry Bittman, M.D. of the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute, and his research team discovered that drumming significantly increases the body’s natural T-cells, which help combat cancer as well as other viruses.
Increases energy levels
Playing with tempo and speed will get your blood flowing by speeding your heart rate slightly, improving circulation, sending oxygen and nutrients soaring through your body and brain, and giving your cells more energy to burn.
Thoughts, emotions, and sensations are interconnected elements of the human condition, and one’s entire self is affected when in pain. Whether chronic or acute, pain is exacerbated by stress and anxiety. Music therapists use drumming as a method of holistic pain management, with the influence of rhythm and beat being felt on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Boots confidence and releases negative feelings and emotions
Drumming is an exercise in creativity and self-expression. Playing music or hitting a drum, like a Djembe or Cajon, has the ability to bring out a natural zest for life through personal expression – you can literally drum out your feelings! Opportunities for building self-esteem can be found in the mastery of the drum, the creativity allowed by drumming, and the experience of drumming with others.
Making social interactions, sense of community and connectedness
It is a long-known fact that music creates bonds and community drumming has proven to be an exceptional activity to empower children and adults and family and friends alike. Drum Circles provide an opportunity for participants to feel connected with others and gain a sense of interpersonal support.
Improving Language and Communication
Drumming is an ancient nonverbal method of communication. When drumming in groups, you learn the art of listening and become keenly aware of your fellow drummers. The subtle awareness can become so great that some people report an empathic response.