Walking you through the process of creating a community-built outdoor musical garden, trail or playground

STAGE ONE: Starting!

Have you come across a music park in another community or seen outdoor musical instruments in a park or family attraction while on vacation and thought it would benefit your community? Outdoor music projects often start with the vision of a person or a small group of people who passionately believe that everyone in their local community should have the opportunity to access and enjoy music. Considering taking the plunge? This guide is written to assist anyone tasked with delivering a music project for their community and help bring your ideas to life.

Music parks or musical trails offer an inclusive space for individuals, families, and groups of friends to gather, unwind, and engage in creating music together. These parks serve as a fantastic opportunity to encourage greater involvement in music-making, celebrate the arts within a community, and provide interactive, inclusive, and family-friendly experiences. By embracing the concept of music parks or trails, communities can foster a fun, carefree environment that welcomes all to explore their musical talents. This unique approach promotes the arts and aims to unite people through the universal language of music.

Music has the power to bring people together across language barriers by using rhythm and melody as a non-verbal form of communication. Outdoor musical instruments provide an innovative and enjoyable way for both children and adults to experience the outdoors. They are fully inclusive, accessible, and suitable for all ages and abilities, enabling individuals of all generations to make music together. This means that grandparents can play alongside their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, while children with disabilities, who are often relegated to watching their non-disabled peers and siblings play, can now join in and play alongside them in a sensory-rich playground environment.

Speak to Others

We have collaborated with organizations such as Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis, as well as dedicated parents and grandparents who are eager to contribute. If you need fundraising or project management assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We can help connect you with individuals who can share their valuable expertise.

Form a Committee

Creating a musical playground or trail will be challenging regardless of your budget size. You'll need a team of individuals with diverse skill sets to bring varied perspectives to your project and design. For example:

  • Parents and caregivers with strong communication skills
  • Business leaders with community connections
  • Individuals with fundraising expertise
  • PR and Marketing professionals
  • Construction workers, project managers, landscapers, and landscape architects
  • Financial management

It is important to have the cooperation of various professionals and roles to ensure a cohesive and practical approach. This includes council officers and members, children's services professionals, planners, developers, architects, landscape architects and designers, and parks and recreation managers, among others, who have or should have an interest in promoting enjoyable play spaces for the community. Furthermore, outdoor musical instruments are just one part of the overall design. A combination of landscaping, planting, and community art installations, for example, complementing one another within the overall design of the area, can create a greater sense of place and provide significant benefits for families and the wider community.

Check out our case study 'Ireland's Most Inclusive Playground to get inspired by a group of determined individuals in Greystones, Co Wicklow, who envisioned and created a musical playground that is inclusive and accessible to all children.

Article - Guide to Creating A Community Music Trail or Garden (900x300 Artivle Guide To Creating Music Playground

STAGE TWO: Location, Location, Location!

After forming the idea, you need to decide where the community music park or musical trail would be best placed. Examine the existing facilities to determine the best way to develop an already existing play area, local park, or open space into your communal music park or trail. Building within an existing park can often significantly reduce project costs.

Your music garden should be easily accessible to families from other areas. Choose a location that is away from dangerous roads, pollution, and excessive noise, as these can detract from the music experience. Design the space so that children with different abilities can play together. Additionally, ensure that parents and caregivers with disabilities can easily access the musical park or playground to accompany their children.

Most existing playgrounds are owned by local or parish councils. They are responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining children's play areas. It's important to gain their full support for your project, as they may provide land for building and financial contributions. You should emphasize to them that your music garden or trail will be a source of community pride and a beloved play space. Creating successful musical parks or trails that meet children's and the community's needs requires input from prospective users and neighbors. Engaging the community in planning ensures that the site meets their needs and aspirations.

Maybe your project is broader and includes other play or playground equipment as 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 .
Also, KABOOM! works with communities to build incredible, kid-designed playspaces, and they have created a fantastic Guide to organizing your community to create a community-built playspace

STAGE THREE: Download Composer AR or Speak to Us!

After you have chosen a site and received approval, visit the Percussion Play website to explore our outdoor musical instruments. Our website is designed to make it easy for you to select suitable instruments. With plenty of photos, videos, and technical information, we provide you with all the details you need to make the selection process straightforward and enjoyable. The number and type of instruments you choose is up to you, but we can assist you in creating a design that fits your available space and budget. We can even help you by creating a design for you. Just provide us with a photo of your outdoor area, and we'll produce an image of the instruments in place. This can be helpful for motivating your fundraising team and showing your community what you plan to create.

Composer AR is our innovative augmented reality (AR) App that is set to revolutionize the way communities design and build support for outdoor musical instruments. This App offers a unique opportunity to create a 'shared vision' for music-making in various locations such as parks, schools, libraries, playgrounds, and hospitals worldwide.

Composer - Home PAge

Composer AR lets users place any Percussion Play instrument into a real-life setting and play it in real time. This interactive App lets you hear how each instrument sounds while playing. Composer AR will enable you to place multiple instruments into a scene, save, share, and reload them.

Take a look at our outdoor music ensembles, designed to save you time and money when selecting a group of instruments. These ensembles are a great way to get your outdoor music project moving quickly and easily and ensure that the combination of instruments sounds harmonious. We offer large and small ensembles that include various percussion instruments.

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 CADdetails.com. This online source provides manufacturer-specific building product information for input into working plans and specification documents.

Our Case Studies page gives many examples of successful community music projects that may help inspire and motivate you.
Article - Guide to Creating A Community Music Trail or Garden

STAGE FOUR: Funding & Finances

It's important to remember that every penny counts in a project like this. Searching for and securing funding can often be the most challenging part of the process. Whether you're seeking funding from your local authority, applying for various grants and funding sources, or fundraising on your own, it's crucial to start reaching out to the community for help. You can create partnerships that benefit everyone involved by approaching local businesses and organizations and gaining their support for sponsorships, donations, or volunteers.

A fundraising strategy to 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), other options 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
  • Search Grants for projects that regenerate public parks of national or local heritage value.
  • As your music park or trail should be inclusive, explore grants for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities
  • Local fundraising groups (Rotary, Lions, Church) - We have many beautiful 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 an excellent riverside music trail in their downtown area.

Composer AR was developed to allow you to share real-time project plans with stakeholders, donors, and communities. This allows you to demonstrate a collective vision for local spaces and garner support for your music-making project.

Article - Guide to Creating A Community Music Trail or Garden

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 an excellent 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 your project's size and complexity, we 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 labor is always a good idea. A 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 readily assembled as possible; any assembly required is 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 several partners who are experienced and professional playground specialists worldwide. 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.

Article - Guide to Creating A Community Music Trail or Garden