Music and Nature: A Natural Combination
From under the shelter of a tree, a six year old calls to her playmates. “Listen, come hear my song.” Her friends gather around. She sings of the sun rising high in the sky and the sparkling rivers connecting to the sea. Her refrain includes the melodic phrase, “because this beautiful day means everything to me.”
This is just one example of the ways in which nature provides inspiration, space and the backdrop for self-expression and growth through music.
Look up at the sky through the leaves of a honey locust tree and you will become intimately aware of the colors, patterns and movement that inspired this young girl to sing about the sun, and her playmates to swing their arms through the breeze as if they were their own extensions into the natural world. Outdoor areas provide an ideal venue for music expression because they are more open than our established indoor environments. Outside there is room to use the entire body, to make music and to dance in unstructured ways.
Listen to two children playing the marimba side by side. Hear the pleasing melodies produced from a professionally crafted musical instrument as the sounds flows into the outdoor spaces. Outdoors, sound is released into the air. It dissipates into the breeze instead of bouncing from wall to wall indoors. Acoustically, outdoor environments are better places for musical experimentation.
Throughout time the outdoor world has inspired composers and musicians to create. Today, children and adults spend less and less time outdoors and miss the time and space for musical spontaneity and contemplation. This is why experts in the field recommend providing nature-based music and movement experiences on a regular basis. These experiences can occur daily in Nature Explore Classrooms. They can also happen in your own backyard. Simply find the time and space to create a music area, gather musical instruments and allow the beauty of nature to inspire. Tell us about your musical experience outdoors, and visit www.NatureExplore.org for more information and materials to create a music area of your very own.