Help grow the movement - Outdoor Musical Play, Everyday!

Throughout our time in isolation, for many, it was most often music bringing us closer together. Musicians and performers tapping into their creativity to share messages of hope and camaraderie, from neighbors singing and playing music to each other on balconies, to performing concerts and entertaining us online. Music bringing people closer together during a time of unrest and unease.

The sad news is, however, that there is no doubt the coronavirus pandemic will have plunged the future of music and the arts into uncertainty and threatened its long-term availability to young people and the community. The talk of the suspension of music and other ‘non-core’ subjects when schools fully reopen to make time for students to catch up with English and maths following the COVID-19 shutdown is concerning. Music is an important subject for all children to learn and recognized to help develop the skills, attitudes, and attributes required to support learning in other subjects as well. This includes listening skills, the ability to concentrate, creativity, intuitions, aesthetic sensitivity, perseverance, the ability to work in a group, self-confidence, and sensitivity towards others. If music is removed from schools, many children will no longer receive these benefits unless they are able to enroll in private lessons, which is often too expensive for some families to afford. In fact, outside the curriculum, the lack of opportunities and financial costs are considered the biggest barriers to young people taking music further.

There is, however, a growing number who are not allowing the short-sightedness of these government reforms to switch off our musical adventures! The need for greater recognition of the value of music and musical participation is increasingly being addressed by neighborhood committees, service clubs, libraries, outreach projects, and organizations dedicated to helping enrich the lives of those in the community and determined to help keep music and the arts alive. They are joining a movement – an outdoor music movement - which holds an increasingly important role in sustaining musical life for generations to come.

Outdoor musical playgrounds and parks or ‘parklets’ such as the one outside of North Mankato Taylor Library are popping up in all kinds of locations across the world. Through the creation of inviting play opportunities and fostering connections through the simple joy of making music, these amazing groups of people are all determined to keep the arts alive and allow free access to music for all ages - including the young and the young at heart. Often working with music professionals or therapists to bolster music education by creating fun music programs around the outdoor musical instruments and providing free-play opportunities for active music-making, they are reaching out to the larger community to ensure a whole generation of children and young people do not miss out on the opportunities to engage with music. Our Case Studies page is full of wonderful examples of how the power of people are keeping the arts alive in their communities with this increasing and wonderful outdoor music movement that champions music-making in the great outdoors!

Music does not have an age limit or a required skill level, so it’s something that groups of people can do together, and all contribute to and benefit from. The beauty of music is it makes us united, and part of something that is bigger than us. So, just as music bought the people closer together during the time of isolation, going forward, we can work together to bring the music closer to the people.

And that's the power of music.

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