Guide To Creating a Community Outdoor Music Trail or Playground

STAGE ONE: Starting off!

Outdoor music projects often start with a vision of an individual person or a small group of people who share a passionate belief that music is something that absolutely everyone in their local community should have the opportunity to access and enjoy. Thinking of taking the plunge? This guide has been written to assist anyone tasked with delivering a music project for his or her community and to help bring your project ideas to life.

A music park or musical trail will 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. They’re a wonderful way to encourage more people to become involved in music making, a special way to celebrate the arts in a community as well as providing 'interactive' fun family-friendly experiences.

Music can bring a diverse group of people together in the community simply 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.

Outdoor musical instruments are an innovative and delightful way for children and adults to enjoy the outdoors and because they are fully inclusive, accessible and multi-generational, they make music-making possible for all ages and abilities. Grandparents can play alongside their grandchildren (or even great-grandchildren!) and children with disabilities - who are often left to sit and watch their able-bodied friends and siblings play - can now play side-by-side in a sensory-rich playground environment.

Speak to Others

Many community groups will have experience of fundraising or have expertise in managing this type of project and will want to share that expertise with you.

Form a Committee

Regardless of the size of your budget, building a musical playground or trail will be a challenge. You’ll need a supportive team of individuals with a variety of skill sets to bring different perspectives to your team, project and design.

  • Parents and/or Carers with good communication skills
  • Business leaders with connections within the community
  • Individuals with fundraising experience
  • PR and Marketing Specialists
  • Construction Workers / Project Managers
  • Financial Management

For a little inspiration and to see how a group of like-minded individuals can take action see our Case Study 'Ireland's Most Inclusive Playground and read how a determined committee in Greystones, Co Wicklow envisioned a musical playground that was inclusive and accessible to all children and went ahead and made it a reality.

Case Study - Wicklow (Boy) (600x600 Case Study Wicklow

STAGE TWO: Location, Location, Location!

Once the idea is formed, you need to decide where the community music park or musical trail would be best placed. Look at what facilities already exist to determine how best to develop an existing play area, local-park or open space into your communal music park or trail.

Building within an existing park can often cut project costs dramatically.

Your music garden will become a destination, drawing families from other areas - therefore choosing a location that’s easily accessible is ideal. Ensure that the space is away from dangerous roads or too much noise which will detract from the music.

Local or Parish Councils own most existing playgrounds. The design, installation and maintenance of children’s play areas is likely to be their responsibility and therefore it’s important that your project is fully supported by them. Hopefully they’ll be willing to not only provide land to build on, but also contribute financially. Let them know that your music garden or trail will become a source of community pride!

Maybe your project is broader and includes other play or playground equipment and well as outdoor musical instruments. If so, you may want to read the following;

RoSPA has plenty of tips and advice on designing safe play spaces:

RoSPA Advice & Information

RoSPA Play Area Design Tips

STAGE THREE: Speak to us!

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Once you have chosen and gained site approval, delve into the Percussion Play website to look and listen to our outdoor musical instruments. Our website is designed to make it easy to select the right instruments for you. With lots of photos, videos, and technical information, we have equipped you with all the information you should need to make choosing your outdoor musical instruments straightforward and enjoyable. The number and type of instruments you select is of course up to you, but we can help you prepare a design that will fit your available space and of course your budget. We can even create a design for you, through supplying us with a photo of your outdoor area we can create an image of the instruments in place - great for motivating your fundraising team and explaining to your community what you intend to create.

Designed to save our customers time and money when selecting a group of instruments we have created a number of outdoor music ‘ensembles’. These ensembles are a great way to get your outdoor music project moving quickly and easily and will ensure the combination of instruments will together sound harmonious. Percussion Play Ensembles can be viewed here

Download our App which includes a comprehensive resource for landscape architects, playground designers, park and recreation professionals or playground committees. Information contained on the App includes; installation instructions, videos, dimension and plan drawings, product certificates and lots and lots of images.

Alternatively, to incorporate our products into your plans quickly, our CAD & 3D drawings, product specifications, media files and more are now available for free download at This is an online source for manufacturer-specific building product information for input into working plans and specification documents.

STAGE FOUR: Funding & Finances

In these kind of projects, every penny counts and searching for and pursuing funding sources is often the hardest part of the process. Whether you are going to approach your local authority to fund the project, apply for different grants or funding streams or fundraise yourselves, it's vital that you start reaching out to the community for help. Approaching and gaining the support of local businesses and organisations for sponsorships, donations, or volunteers can create partnerships with opportunities that benefit all involved.

Within the technical information downloads page on our website you can find high resolution product photographs for creating mood boards and collages to show everyone what it is you're planning and build your case for fundraising. Pinterest, Juxtapost or Dribbble are all available free on the internet and the concept is simple. If you find something you like on the web, save it on your ‘mood board’ online. It’s effectively a digital pin board in which you can bookmark – or “pin” – images that you like or find online and organise them into your own “boards”. We’ve created several ‘boards’ of our own Pinterest Page

Having a fundraising strategy so you can consider all types of funding sources is essential. Do not become too dependent on any one source in case they’re not successful. As well as independent fundraising (collections tins, car boot sales, and sponsored events) there are other options which may be worth pursuing -

Take a look over on our Fundraising and Grants Page

Set up an Online Donation site e.g. GoFundMe

Websites such as Easy Fundraising

Public Grants

Local fundraising groups (Rotary, Lions, Church) - We have many wonderful stories to tell of projects completed thanks to the generosity of local service clubs such as Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis. For example the Montezuma Lions Club, who helped see the local Elementary School playground receive a wonderful new musical makeover. Or Beaver Dam Rotary who created a wonderful riverside music trail in their downtown area.

Case Study - Blenheim

STAGE FIVE: Going Ahead

Building your community music garden or project with volunteers instead of professionals will take time and effort, but the benefits go beyond saving money. Involving the local community is a great way for families or individuals to meet and for new residents to get involved. Once finished the community will have created a space for everyone to be proud of.

Whatever the size and complexity of your project, we do recommend that you have a few skilled individuals to hand. Our comprehensive installation instructions will guide you through the nuts and bolts of the project but a little experience or skilled labour is always good idea. An added bonus is that once your volunteers have done a great job, many will have picked up some valuable skills along the way!

Product-specific installation instructions are sent with each product although you can download a replacement if required

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

Case Study - Children's Healing Center (600x600 Children's Healing Center

Wait! We can provide further assistance

Percussion Play works with a number of partners who are experienced and professional playground specialists located across the world. This means that our customers get the best possible service from what is often a local supplier, as well as being able to access the best outdoor musical instruments on the market.

Let us know what you are looking for and we can put you in touch with one of our partners with no obligations. Please feel free to contact us

We are happy to help.

Case Study - Blenheim