Why Music in Unexpected Places is Good for Your City – And Your Soul
Outdoor musical instruments provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy music-making in unexpected surroundings.
Pocket music parks or mini music stations are a relatively low-cost, easy way to revitalize areas that have been otherwise forgotten and turned into spaces with real potential for interactive and creative experiences. Percussion Play has worked with many groups and organizations with visions of revitalizing their neighborhood, downtown areas, or unloved spaces and creating dynamic, vibrant destinations.
The outcomes have been unique and inviting spaces that contribute to the neighborhood's character and offer something enticing that gets people talking and engaged—fulfilling the dream of a one-stop destination for art, music, wellness, and fun, or even an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage of an area.
Many people do not have access to musical instruments on a regular basis, so it’s an exciting possibility to be able to bring music-making on real instruments to people in the public spaces where they live, work, and commute. Everyday locations can become inclusive, inspiring, and musically creative environments accessible to all community members.
With public art taking on a more significant role in our cities, it’s worth noting the numerous benefits these public music spaces could bring to our everyday lives. Creating spaces where musical exploration can be free and accessible to all will see benefits beyond adding something a little unusual and fun to a shared environment. Undoubtedly, music is best experienced with other people, and communities need music - music brings communities together. Our White Paper Come One, Come All explores how inclusive outdoor community music spaces engage people of all ages, cultures, and abilities. It identifies how music-making brings people together in ways few other activities can - fostering individual growth and community development.
Our case study Go Art! Play Me A Tune Music Garden describes how an old alleyway has become a place of community pride. The project aimed to expose families to arts and culture and create opportunities for after-school programming. It’s now estimated that the music garden will serve 860 kids annually.
Similarly, 'Esquina de Musica' is an interactive musical sculpture playground for kids created on a neighborhood street corner and transformed into a bright and inviting community space complete with outdoor musical instruments and a dance floor.
Just as public music spaces bring people together and create a sense of civic vitality for communities, it’s also restorative for the individual. Outdoor music enhances our experience of a place, inspires awe, and draws out profound emotions in us. Music in the public realm will interrupt our day-to-day routine and encourage us to think and question what is happening in our world.