When I first began the process of brainstorming for my Girl Scout Gold Award, I knew that I wanted to do something with music. I have a first-hand experience of how music can encourage friendship, soothe anxiety, and act as a positive force throughout all parts of one’s life, even the non music-related ones.
The only hurdle I then faced was “How exactly can I create the same experience for others, in a way that will last?”
I couldn’t exactly teach music programs myself. After all, I’m an under-qualified high schooler, not to mention that said programs might not last when I head off to college in a few years. Then, I discovered the metallophones produced by Freenotes Harmony Park. I knew instantly that these kind of instruments would create exactly the friendly environment I was looking to foster on the East Elementary School playground.
According to the Minnesota Association for Children’s mental health, “One in ten young people may suffer from an anxiety disorder.” That’s a striking number. Situational anxiety that may hinder child development is something that elementary schools should be researching and implementing solutions to. But how are we supposed to satisfy the needs of many kinds of students from many different backgrounds? Music brings us a step closer to what may at first seem like an unsolvable problem.
“Music, widely chosen, lowers stress hormone levels” and playing a musical instrument could help students who suffer from anxiety, an article by healthychildren.org says.
I know that for me personally, music has not only helped me manage anxiety, but has opened my eyes to a community of loving and passionate musicians with whom I belong.
For students on the East Elementary School playground that may feel uncomfortable with the unstructured, kick-a-ball, recess play, this instrument will help to create that same community experience.
For schools looking to create a positive and engaging experience for all kids during recess play, this is a great first step to ultimate inclusion. I encourage any and every school, park, and playground to install an outdoor instrument.