Percussion Play is passionate about telling teachers, landscape architects, parents, garden designers, playground designers, farm and theme park managers all there is to know about outdoor musical instruments and percussion for outside spaces, inclusive playgrounds, and parks. Over time, we have realized that while each outdoor space is unique, many questions people have when purchasing outdoor musical instruments or musical play equipment remain the same.

We have therefore compiled a list of these core questions to help you choose the right outdoor musical instrument for you. To get started, click on the questions below to start learning.

Do the instruments require any 'Play Area Surfacing' or 'Safer Surfacing'?

The purpose of safer surfacing is to cushion the impact of a child's accidental fall and reduce the severity of an injury. However, our instruments are designed to be played while standing on the ground and not climbed on. Therefore, they do not require any impact-absorbing, safer surfacing under BS EN-1177 standards.

Moreover, all play equipment needs a recommended 'free space' zone for safety purposes. This free space is a minimum area around equipment that helps reduce the risk of collisions. If installed correctly and following our installation instructions, we confirm that our instruments have been independently inspected and comply with the dimensional requirements of BS EN 1176.

It is essential to note that since these instruments will be frequently used, if you plan to install them into the grass, you may want to consider some form of ground protection, such as grass reinforcement materials, to prevent muddy surfaces from appearing.

Lastly, it is crucial to remember that from the initial design and equipment selection to installation, routine maintenance, and inspections, any organization or business that installs or manages a children's play area must take responsibility for the overall safety of the equipment in place.

Why choose Percussion Play?

With an unusual combination of sculpture, play, and music, our instruments make people stop, and they challenge the individuals who encounter them to have a go, whatever their age. Integrated with architecture or landscaping they cross the boundaries of usual play equipment to allow hands-on music-making possible for any member of the public to enjoy - making them both desirable and fun. Ideal for landscape architects, local authorities, and playground designers who are looking for dynamic, interactive playful items that add energy and soul to your outdoor area.

Constructed of durable, easily cared-for materials to avoid the worst effects of the elements and vandalism, all instruments are designed to avoid costly or long-term maintenance. Where possible, we've designed the instruments to be played simply by using your hands. Where beaters are required, we've engineered them as one complete piece so the ends do not become separated, and they're attached using coated stainless steel cables. The instruments are made from stainless steel with high corrosion resistance, making them outdoor musical instruments that stand out in quality and performance.

Percussion Play instruments are a great way to keep the arts alive in the community and a great way to bring the community together, an opportunity for young children and their grown-ups to be creative and to find the joy in creating music together. Music-making promotes cooperation, interaction, and creativity - all things that help to build closeness and mutual affection. 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. Our aim for inclusive design means that from the very beginning, we consider creating something easily accessible, fun, and enjoyable for as many people as possible. For further reading on the impact of music in communities, read our White Paper Come One, Come All: The Benefits of Music-Making Within the Community

Percussion Play wants to inspire musical fun and curiosity to provide opportunities for meaningful musical engagement while outdoors. We are confident that our instruments can provide an alternative play solution to several challenging locations such as public parks, town centers, forests, and other public areas.

What are the benefits of outdoor musical instruments?

Playing an outdoor musical instrument does not have a required skill level or an age limit, so it's something that friends or families can do together, all contributing and creating their own musical ideas and sounds.

We strongly believe that outdoor musical play ticks all the right boxes – it offers cognitive, emotional, and physical play opportunities. Outdoor musical instruments provide an alternative play solution to a number of locations, such as public parks, school playground equipment, forests, and other public areas. They encourage cooperation and creative thinking - perfect for those who want to avoid conflict and create harmony in their outdoor environment and for playgrounds designed with inclusive play in mind.

There are no rules for musical improvisation; the focus is on creativity and expression, and there are no instruments as easy to learn as ours, yet they’re capable of making some very complex, very beautiful music. Designed to be played by people with diverse abilities and to encourage inter-generational play, our outdoor musical instruments offer a unique solution for inclusive playgrounds, music parks, community trails, churches, and many other outdoor spaces. Our White Paper Play, Percussion, and 'Post-Age' Pedagogy: The Positive Effects of Intergenerational Music-Making looks into the vital role that music-making can play in facilitating cross-generational connections and play.

Outdoor musical instruments present schools with an excellent way of incorporating outdoor education into the day-to-day curriculum, and children will love the fact that music can be used in a context outside of the classroom. They make wonderful playground equipment for schools and nurseries, as well as outdoor learning and music resources. Introducing a musical garden or outdoor 'soundscape' will excite and inspire children musically while enjoying the obvious benefits of spending time in the natural environment.

Being outside is necessary for well-being and enjoyment of life itself, and a number of Care and Nursing Homes are seeing the benefits of creating dementia-friendly sensory gardens for residents and visitors to enjoy, creating little sanctuaries that appeal to all the senses through the creative use of colors, smells, textures, and sounds. Music is important in all aspects of life and a crucial factor in any sensory environment. A musical sound garden combines the benefits of a sensory garden with playing musical instruments - an increasingly popular care home activity. Creating a sound garden for residents will engage their senses while having a little fun - an invitation to experience the outdoors in a new and fascinating way. Music motivates, enriches, relaxes, and energizes older people in nursing homes. For further reading, you may also be interested in our White Paper Music For Mood & Memory - The Benefits Of Music For People Living With Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Musical Instruments can be a wonderful addition to any inclusive playground and ensure your play space is fun for children of all abilities. Enhancing physical and mental development through the exploration of sound, Percussion Play outdoor musical instruments are accessible to kids with both physical and developmental disabilities.

Good design is an inclusive design. Percussion Play strives to design its outdoor musical instruments with inclusive play in mind, reflecting the diversity of people who will play them and not impose barriers of any kind. Our instruments provide physical, sensory, social, and creative play opportunities for children who may not normally have access to playground equipment.

A really great inclusive play space provides easy access and promotes inclusive play. Why not read our Case Study on Ireland's Most Inclusive Playground? Here, the playground designers considered both physical and sensory disabilities as well as additional needs of children on the autism spectrum and those with motor coordination difficulties.

For further reading you may also be interested in our White Papers Beating the Drum for Equality The Benefits of Music for Those with Developmental Disabilities and Special Educational Needs and Sounds and the Spectrum: The Benefits of Music for Autistic Children or our magazine article Outdoor Musical Instruments and Music Therapy For Children With Special Needs

Where are Percussion Play Instruments made?

Percussion Play is very proud of the fact that all their instruments are made in Great Britain.

Although we always try to source materials from within Great Britain, there are a few which are not available in the UK. Those materials are sourced from abroad; however, the quality we expect from them is as high as that of any other material from Great Britain. By sourcing materials from Great Britain, we can ensure the quality and support of our industries while having the added benefit of lowering our carbon footprint.

The assembly of Percussion Play outdoor musical instruments is done entirely by hand and then precision-tuned, which requires a great deal of experience and a good ear!

There is no language more powerful than the language of music. Music crosses all cultural and linguistic barriers. Find a country that does not have music of some kind, from Derry to Denmark, from Darwin to Delhi; every country will, without a doubt, have some form of music. Their people will make music, play music, and move to the music. Music is truly a language that is spoken by every person on earth.

We distribute our outdoor musical instruments to nearly every country in the world through independent distributors around the globe. To find your nearest Percussion Play Reseller click here

Are Percussion Play Instruments easy to install?

In addition to being easy to play, all our instruments are designed to ensure easy installation. Installing your instruments may seem intimidating, but we are confident you can do it!

We send all our products as readily assembled as possible; any assembly required is clearly laid out to ease the installation process.

Product-specific installation instructions are sent with each product, although you can download a replacement if required. All our Installation Instructions are available for download here.

Do Percussion Play Instruments have a warranty?

Percussion Play warranty our materials and quality against defects from the day of consignment, subject to installation being carried out by competent persons in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

We reserve the right to refuse any claim if you cannot provide evidence of the execution of regular inspection and maintenance works.

Products and components may be repaired or exchanged on an Ex Works basis and may be subject to the defective parts being returned to Percussion Play or its authorized Agent.

This guarantee does not affect your statutory rights.

Limited Twenty-Five (25) Year Warranty - Percussion Play offers an unrivaled Limited 25 Year Warranty on metalwork used in the supporting structure of stands and frames against structural failure caused by deterioration due to exposure to weather or by defective materials or defective artistry.

Limited Ten (10) Year Warranty – on timber, composite, aluminum, and stainless steel components (includes notes and fixings) against structural failure caused by deterioration due to weather exposure or defective materials or workmanship.

Limited Two (2) Year Warranty – on mallets and components used in initiating percussive sound on our instruments and associated fastening hardware, on fastening hardware related to notes.

These Limited Warranties do not include fading of colors, damage due to excessive wear and tear, vandalism, or negligence.

Do I need to be musical to play these instruments?

Trust us, anyone can play our instruments! Anyone can create beautiful, original music by playing our instruments. Anyone can surprise and impress people by playing our instruments. Anyone can have great fun and express themselves by playing our instruments.

If you are anything like me and not musically inclined, learning to play guitar or piano is out of the question. But everyone loves music and appreciates the heart and soul that goes into making your own.

Of most people who claim things like ‘Oh, but I'm not musical at all,' ‘I'm hopeless at keeping a tune,' or ‘I have no sense of rhythm,' only a small percentage turn out to be completely unmusical it’s just that many people simply think they can’t play music. Maybe you’re one of them. Why? Maybe you took traditional lessons as a child and, at some point, got frustrated or confused and stopped. Just because you quit your lessons doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of playing music.

Edgard Varèse, the composer, defines music as “organized sound,” saying, “To stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise.” So, if you want to make music, it’s time to start making some organized noise. And we can help you!

We believe music should be available to all comers. Percussion Play has designed all of its instruments to be played by both experts and ‘budding musicians’ – basically all people with a love of music. Knowledge of music, keys, or scales is not required, just the willingness to have a go. Making music that sounds good has never been this easy. Why? The fundamental reason is the use of the pentatonic scale. Consisting of five notes and found in practically every form of music in the world, the Pentatonic scale contains almost no clashing or dissonant notes. Put another way, you can play almost any notes of a pentatonic scale in almost any combination, and they’ll sound great together.

It’s wonderful to improvise using a scale that always sounds good. So, what is a pentatonic scale, and how did it come about? Our White Paper Five Notes To Rule Them All: The Power of the Pentatonic Scale explores the theory behind the scale, it's origins and relevance today.

Are Percussion Play Instruments for Schools?

Percussion Play’s instruments present schools with an excellent way of incorporating outdoor education into the day-to-day curriculum. Our outdoor musical instruments make wonderful playground equipment for schools and nurseries, as well as outdoor learning and music resources. We highlight the importance of Music Education in our White Paper Music Matters

Our musical instruments are designed to withstand the elements and live outside all year to help create an outdoor environment that supports young children's health, well-being, development, and learning. Children will love the fact that music can be used in a context outside of the classroom and possibly engage with musical outdoors in ways that are not really possible indoors.

Due to their clever design and use of the pentatonic scale, our instruments are so easy to play that children are able to develop musical skills without having to manage any technical demands of an instrument, showing children what can be expressed and achieved through music. With pentatonic-tuned musical instruments, the technique is not a problem, given the simplicity of the instruments. Dissonance is not a problem, given the pentatonic scale. When one experiences the simplicity of making pleasing melodies and harmonies on the pentatonic scale, suddenly, making music becomes achievable and exciting. Music in the early years supports children's all-round development and helps to shape their skills in concentration, memory, and listening. To aid this physical and cognitive development and lay a strong foundation in aural and rhythmic skills, every child must be given the opportunity to discover their musicality. Find out more about the Pentatonic Scale for Early Years here or why not read our White Paper Five Notes To Rule Them All: The Power of the Pentatonic Scale

With a little imagination, music can be incorporated into numerous settings throughout the day. Creating areas for music and sound exploration inside and out will help integrate music into the everyday experience of the children. The introduction of a musical garden or outdoor 'soundscape' will excite and inspire children musically while enjoying the obvious benefits that arise from spending time in the natural environment. For a little inspiration, why not head to our Case Studies page to see examples such as the outdoor learning grounds at Buffalo Rubbing Stone School or the ADA accessible music garden at Park Hill Elementary

Children will be able to explore new sounds whilst enjoying the benefits of the outdoor elements - fresh air and sunshine (well, fresh air, at least!) A musical playground will provide young children with opportunities for early interaction and positive experiences with music. A facility where children can explore, create, and develop their own musical ideas and sounds - maximizing the musical potential of a child during their most rapid developmental period while discovering the joy and empowerment of music-making.

What size are the instruments?

We want our outdoor musical instruments to be fun and easy to play for all age groups, from Pre-schoolers to Seniors.

The dimensions for all Percussion Play instruments can be found under the Instrument Information tab 'Dimensions' on each individual product page. See our Duo as an example.

The supplied height of the instruments is designed to be suitable for children aged 7 to adults. However, to make them suitable for younger children, you simply need to set the instrument lower in the ground by digging a little deeper when you are installing the instrument. This is all made clear in the installation guide.

If looking for musical instruments specifically designed for younger players, take a look at our Rainbow Trio - occupying less space than the full-size instruments, this bright and inviting ensemble requires less budget, too – making them appealing for smaller establishments such as nursery schools, pre-schools, and kindergartens. You can even bring the outdoors in by installing the instruments on a wall indoors.

From what materials are Percussion Play instruments made?

We design our outdoor musical instruments using a mix of materials. We choose the best quality materials to create the right look, sound, durability, and price.

The majority are made from Stainless Steel, Aluminum, GRP (Glassfibre Reinforced Polymers) ABS, and Hardwood.

About the Materials We Use:

GRP (Glassfibre Reinforced Polymers)

GRP is a composite material or plastic reinforced by fine fibers made of glass. GRP is a lightweight, extremely strong, and robust material with a better strength-to-weight ratio than steel. It won't warp, shrink or rust. It’s virtually maintenance-free, with durability in even the most extreme conditions. GRP is also referred to as 'Fibreglass,' 'Composite Plastics,' and in the USA, 'FRP.'

High strength - Corrosion-free - Extremely safe - Fire retardant - Cost-effective - Weatherproof - Durable

Percussion Play uses GRP to make the notes on the Duo, Marimba, Sansa Rimba, Cadenza, and Wall Marimba. The sound it produces is fast and punchy.


Aluminum is a very durable material designed to withstand rain, sun, wind, and snow. It is lightweight with high strength and resistance to corrosion. After iron, aluminum is now the second most widely used metal in the world. This is because aluminum has a unique combination of attractive properties:

Low weight. High strength. Superior malleability. Easy machining. Excellent corrosion resistance

Aluminum can be reused over and over again for the same purposes. Unlike many other materials, aluminum does not lose its unique properties.

Percussion Play uses aluminum to make the notes on many instruments, including, among others, the Duo, Sansa Rimba, Cadenza, Mirror Chimes, Tubular Bells, Freechimes, Cadenza, and Harmony. The sound it produces is clear and bright.


The notes of some traditional instruments, such as the Akadinda, are made from hardwood, usually Padauk. About as heavy but stronger than oak, padauk is known for its bright orange-red heartwood. The timber is strong, durable, and extremely resistant to rot or termite attack, and it has excellent weathering properties. Left to nature, the UV sun rays, and traditional weathering, the Paduak’s appearance will change from vivid red toning down to dark purple-brown.

Padauk has excellent tonal qualities. It’s used for drums in its native Africa due to its low acoustical dampening properties. It is most frequently used in high-end joinery and cabinetry but is also used in boat-building, agricultural implements, decking, and flooring.

This extremely stable timber has an attractive appearance and high-strength properties.

The only maintenance required is washing the timber using a brush and soapy water once or twice a year. This will remove algae and lichens where required.

Percussion Play uses hardwood to make the notes for the Grand Marimba, Tutti, and Akadinda. The sound it produces is strong deep, and resonant.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS is a thermoplastic that is easy to machine and fabricate. ABS is an ideal material for applications when impact resistance and strength are required and is easy to paint and glue. The ABS we use for the lids of our Rainbow Sambas and Conga Drums has a very tight surface structure with good shock absorbance which results in a great sound when struck.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is used extensively across a broad range of industrial, technical, and everyday applications, including widespread use in building, transport, packaging, electrical/electronic, and healthcare applications.

PVC is a very durable and long-lasting material that can be used in a variety of applications and we use it for the resonators of Rainbow Sambas and Conga Drums.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is known as a steel alloy, meaning that it has several metals that have been melted together with increased protection from the elements by the addition of chrome and nickel. Stainless steel does not corrode or rust and cannot be stained with water like ordinary steel. Stainless steel is bright, easy to maintain, and clean, making it perfect for rigorous environments.

With proper care, stainless steel has a useful life expectancy of over 100 years, and it is totally recyclable. Over 50% of new stainless steel comes from re-melted stainless steel scrap.

Percussion Play uses stainless steel to produce many of its instruments, including, among others, the Babel Drums, Tembos, Bell Lyre, and also the frames and legs for other outdoor musical instruments.

How do I import Percussion Play instruments to the United States, and how much does it cost?

Simply put, it only costs 12% and it's easy to do. But how?

To save you the trouble of spending hours going through the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States and understanding all the definitions and rules, we've already taken care of that for you. We identify and export all of our instruments using commodity codes according to the HTS for trade between the UK and the United States of America.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations 19 CFR 24.23(b)(1) require Formal or Informal customs entries for commercial goods that are subject to a Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) (Formal entries are required for imports of commercial goods valued at $2,500 or more). We take care of this for you.

Freight costs vary from instrument to instrument and are dependent on not only the weight of the instrument but also the space occupied in transit. We pack everything with space-saving in mind to keep the freight costs to a minimum, and sometimes, this means a little instrument assembly may be required; however, full assembly instructions are always provided and we also have the assembly videos for a number of instruments.

How much does all of this cost, and what is the freight cost?

Our incurred freight costs range from 4.2% to 13.0% of the US Dollar MSRP. Duties payable can be as much as 5.3% of the US Dollar MSRP, excluding freight costs. MPF is nominally 0.3464% to a maximum amount not exceeding $485; however, it shall not be less than $25.

We subsidize these costs and in total, we charge a nominal fee of 12% on the US Dollar MSRP for Customs Entries, Freight, and Duties, meaning you don’t have to do anything.

We have shown an example of this below:-

  • Rainbow Sambas MSRP $3360.00*
  • We charge import costs of $403.20
  • Total Costs Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) = $3763.20 *Price valid January 1st-December 31st 2024.

If you would like more information, please Contact Us or drop us a quick line below, and one of our friendly team will be on hand to answer your questions.

Prices are in US Dollars. Excluding TAX. Freight/Incoterm FOB, Petersfield UK. Air Freight DDP to 48 Contiguous United States add 12% of MSRP. (Except where indicated on Price List) Sea Freight DDP to 48 Contiguous United States add 5% of MSRP (Net equipment order value greater than $10,000). Percussion Play Ltd standard Terms and Conditions of sale apply. E and OE.

How do I import Percussion Play instruments to Canada and how much does it cost?

To save you the time and hassle of spending hours trawling through pages of the Canadian Customs Tariff (as defined by the Canada Border Services Agency - CBSA) and understanding the various definitions and rules, we’ve done this already.

We identify and export all our instruments using commodity codes according to the Canadian Customs Tariff for trade between the UK and Canada.

In Canada, there are three types of sales tax: a federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a rate of 5%, a provincial sales tax (PST) whose rate varies by province, and a combination of both, a Harmonised Sales Tax (HST). Sales tax is calculated based on the sum of the value of the goods, the duty. The GST (5%) is payable on most goods at the time of importation under Part IX, Division III of the Excise Tax Act. We take care of this for you.

Freight costs vary from instrument to instrument and are dependent on not only the weight of the instrument but also the space occupied in transit. We pack everything with space-saving in mind to keep the freight costs to a minimum. Sometimes, this means a little instrument assembly may be required. However, full assembly instructions are always provided.

How much does all this cost, and what is the freight cost?

Our incurred freight costs, on average, are almost 14% but can be as much as 23% of the Canadian Dollar MSRP and, to some provinces, are even greater.

Duties payable can be as much as 6% of the Canadian Dollar MSRP (excluding freight costs).

We subsidize these costs across all our products, and in total, we charge a nominal fee of 12%* on the Canadian Dollar MSRP for Customs Entries, Freight, and Duties - meaning you don’t have to do anything.

(*Freight for some Provinces is still currently POA. These are NL, PE, NT, YT, NU)

We have shown an example of this below:-

Rainbow Sambas: MSRP CA$4545

For Freight DDP to ON, QC, BC, AB, MB, SK, NS, and NB, we charge import costs of CA$545.40

Total Costs Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) = CA$5090.40

If you would like more information, please Contact Us, and one of our friendly team will be on hand to answer your questions.

What if I can't find exactly what I am looking for?

If you’re looking for great quality outdoor musical products for a community garden, playpark, playground, forest trail, or care home, we can create what you have in mind. For landscape architects garden or playground designers looking to create a custom outdoor music project - having a partner working alongside you is critical to your success. With our unrivaled expertise in design and manufacture, Percussion Play delivers winning bespoke musical solutions from start to finish. This service can range from using different color materials and making small changes to one of our current designs, such as creating a different scale to producing a completely unique item.

A great example of one of our bespoke musical solutions is the chimes that play 'I do like to be beside the seaside' on the musical trail along the historic Boscombe Pier. They proved so popular that we created the standard product My Tunes - highly resonant chimes that are arranged sequentially so that by simply striking the notes in order, a familiar tune is played. My Tunes can be personalized to suit a specific location or target audience and make wonderfully unique and playful items for multigenerational fun at family attractions, theme parks, museums, or farms, to name a few.

If you have an idea that you would like to bring to life that is not within our standard product range, please Contact Us. We have a passion for new ideas, and we're constantly innovating to create exciting new outdoor musical instruments, large and small. We can make your order just for you in our workshop, with no minimum order quantities. We are confident that working together, only our imaginations are the limit. Let us help you bring your sound sculpture to life and have some fun along the way!

Ground Fix installation involves digging a hole to install the instrument post/s directly into the ground to be concreted.

Surface Fix installation is ideal for when it is not possible to dig into the ground (e.g. concrete or expensive, safer surfacing, which you do not want to damage). The 'surface plates' provided can be fixed/drilled in the desired location using recommended suitable ground anchors - bolts or fixings (not supplied) for a quick, easy solution.

You need to specify which type of installation you require when ordering your instruments. Product-specific installation instructions are sent with each product. However, all our installation instructions are available to view or download here at any time.

You know you want a great combination of outdoor musical instruments but don't know where to begin to ensure the different instruments you select will work together harmoniously. Don’t worry; we’ve done the hard work for you! Our ensembles or outdoor musical instrument collections facilitate the decision-making process while passing along some cost savings to you for good measure.

Our Ensembles or Collections range from just three instruments - the Rainbow Trio Ensemble - to our biggest and most diverse arrangement, the Septet Ensemble that can accommodate in excess of twelve players at any time. We have collections ideal for urban environments that require no mallets, as well as collections for those with big ideas but small budgets!