20% increase in sales of outdoor musical instruments to schools
To celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day today (November 3rd), Percussion Play, the world’s leading manufacturer of outdoor musical instruments, reveals that it has seen an increase of 20% in sales of its instruments for schools across the UK, compared to last year.
Classrooms diversified during the Covid-19 pandemic with many teachers moving lessons outside but now many have realised the benefits an outdoor education has on children.
By combining both music and the ‘great outdoors’, Percussion Play believes its instruments can help create fun and laughter and help to facilitate learning.
An independent school and nursery based in Preston have taken an innovative approach to teaching by installing a variety of outdoor musical instruments on its grounds.
Pupils of Ashbridge Independent School & Nursery, which has an ethos based on learning in the great outdoors, are now creating music, both in play and learning. The forest school’s pupils, aged between 0-11 years old, take music lessons using the instruments as well as enjoy them with peers during recreation.
The school uses the new outdoor music area across the curriculum, with students using and exploring music to find natural connections to mathematics, science, reading, writing, and performing arts.
Principal Graf comments on the impact the instruments have had on her students; “If I have to sum up the impact in one word, it would be inquisitive. Watching the children play, then figure out how the instrument works gives me a huge sense of pride. We’ve also seen a decrease in disciplinary issues since we had the instruments installed, I think mainly because it keeps the kids busy learning in recess when they don’t even know that they’re still learning! The instruments are beneficial to both our students and teachers!”
Percussion Play’s musical instruments can support a child’s musical education and encourages both individual and group participation, particularly instruments such as the Duo that can help encourage children with learning difficulties to play music together.
In the UK, researchers have found that children who have been educated in music performance or appreciation score 63 points higher in verbal skills and 44 points higher in maths skills in SATs tests.
Being exposed to music from a young age, particularly within a school or nursery setting, has been proven to encourage teamwork, self-confidence, empathy, improved communication skills and intellectual curiosity, and individuals who have had the opportunity to develop these skills and behaviors in early life therefore often turn out to be happier, healthier and higher-achieving adults than those who do not. For these reasons it would seem fair to say that encouraging music education programmes in schools and providing young children with access to musical instruments would have far-reaching benefits not just for the individual but for society as a whole.
Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, states that “a music-rich experience” brings “a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning” and Luehrsen’s observation is supported by numerous studies which have concluded that being exposed to music and playing musical instruments impacts positively on a child’s social, linguistic and behavioral development.
Introducing musical studies in early childhood also fosters a positive attitude towards learning and promotes craftsmanship as students learn to desire good work over mediocre work. This then translates into other aspects of their academic work and to their lives in general encouraging ambition and self-improvement.
Jody Ashfield, Founder and CEO of Percussion Play said: “Each year we promote Outdoor Classroom Day and each year we find more and more schools in the UK embracing music in the great outdoors. As world leaders in the manufacturing of outdoor musical instruments, we aim to champion learning and playing music outdoors and encourage pupils to get outside and create music”.
You can read more research on the benefits of outdoor music in education settings here.