Music may not be the first subject that comes to mind when you think about garden-based education. But the outdoor classroom can be a rich environment for exploring sounds, both natural and human-made. Nathan Larson, director of the Wisconsin School Garden Network, discusses music in the garden (and so much more!) in his book, Teaching in Nature's Classroom
, which is now available as a free e-book in both Spanish and English. Of his experiences with music in the garden, he writes:
"At the Troy Kids' Garden we have a much-used and much-loved outdoor music-making area. It includes an A-frame strung with old pots and pans from a local thrift store as well as donated drums and 5-gallon bucket drums. It was originally inspired by the Tree o' Tunes in the Life Lab Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz, California, and over the years it has inspired a number of teachers in our area to install similar features in their school gardens.
One year, there was a group of boys who initially were not very interested in gardening, but they did form a strong connection to our music-making area. They spent the majority of their time in the garden creating percussive beats and freestyle raps. As their impromptu music collective evolved, they began performing for their peers on our earthen "living" stage. At one point, they even made flyers for a Friday afternoon concert, which they distributed to all of the students and teachers at school. The connection that these students made to the garden through music was powerful. Over time, this primary connection led them to explore and enjoy the garden through the lens of other disciplines as well."
(You can learn more about Teaching in Nature's Classroom or download the free e-book in English or Spanish here
One of the reasons we love this topic is the endless possibilities – and the fact that you don't need a lot of funds or new materials to create a space for music. In this issue of the newsletter, you will find creative and practical ideas for incorporating music and sound into any garden or outdoor classroom.
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using the hashtag #GardenMusic
, WSGN Communications Manager