Education through music

Ashbridge Independent School & Nursery tells us how it added outdoor musical Instruments to enhance lessons and play, by Percussion Play

An independent school and nursery based in Preston has 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, will now be creating music, both in play and learning. The forest school will see its pupils, aged between 0–11 years old, take music lessons using the instruments as well as enjoy them with peers during recreation.

Many of the pupils are keen musicians and the school has a dedicated music teacher; however, they had no way of bringing music to their outdoor surroundings until they installed a range of instruments from Percussion Play. These include the Duo, Babel drum, Rainbow Sambas, Cavatina, Tubular Bells, Alto Diatonic Freechimes and Diatonic Tembos.

We can use the instruments in science to really experience vibrations and how sound travels – Karen Mehta, headteacher


Karen Mehta, headteacher at Ashbridge, comments on the new additions to the school: “Outdoor learning is a huge part of the school. We believe that there is no better place to educate and excite our pupils than in our beautiful grounds. The refurbishment of our adventure play area now includes a range of wonderful instruments, so that our pupils can get creative, as well as be adventurous!”

The installation was completed just ahead of the Jubilee in June. As such, the new adventure and music area is now called the Jubilee Park, to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Jubilee Park at Ashbridge Independent School & Nursery


The benefits of music

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. Individuals who have had the opportunity to develop these skills and behaviours 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.

Percussion Play’s Rainbow Sambas in a personalised colour, installed at the Jubilee Park


Conquering fears

Performing a piece in front of an audience also teaches young people to take risks and conquer their fears which can help them to become more successful in later life. Anxiety occurs frequently in life and it can be a positive thing if an individual learns how to deal with these feelings constructively. Risk-taking is essential for self-development and it has been proven that learning how to take risks in a safe environment – such as within a musical performance, for example – can help to prevent future risky behavioural choices.

Karen Mehta adds: “Having the large instruments outdoors enables the children to be creative and work together freely outside of the formal music lessons to make music and sounds. Older pupils can work with the younger ones. We can use the instruments in science to really experience vibrations and how sound travels. They can be used for Drama/Dance and as a stimulus or accompaniment to creative writing.

There is no better place to educate and excite our pupils than in our beautiful grounds – Karen Mehta, headteacher


“Playing the instruments can develop fine motor skills and promote wellbeing and they can be used by children of all ages. We can also look at how they are made and how the sound is created, which could support a DT project.”

Jody Ashfield, co-founder and CEO of Percussion Play, says: “We continue to see an increase in schools, such as Ashbridge, ordering our outdoor musical instruments. The benefits of outdoor learning is gaining more air-time within the education sector and we expect this trend to continue.”

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