by Aubrey Volger
Enhancing physical and mental development through the exploration of sound, Freenotes outdoor musical instruments are accessible to kids with physical and developmental handicaps. Only the simplest motor skills are needed to activate pure harmonies and melodies, ensuring musical success for all players.
Freenotes Harmony Park offers a musical experience for everyone through a specially designed ensemble of percussion instruments. All instruments play together and any combination of notes are pleasing. Surprisingly delightful, these interactive art sculptures work as educational tools to challenge the imagination by stimulating creativity. No matter one’s developmental level, Freenotes instruments make it possible for everyone to create beautiful music.
An installation of eight Freenotes instruments was the first public art exhibit to be approved by the “Art in Public Places Committee” for the Parker Arts and Cultural Events Center in Parker, Colorado. Known as the PACE Center, it demonstrates the Town of Parker’s commitment to public art. It was built to increase cultural offerings and arts education, create a community-gathering place, enhance the downtown area, and impact economic development. Freenotes was honored to be a part of the efforts.
“One of the best things about these instruments is that they provide all ages and abilities an opportunity to interact through spontaneous creative expression,” says Jeannene Bragg, Cultural Director at the PACE Center. “All instruments are wheelchair accessible and can even be a tool for music therapy to improve cognitive ability, communication and motor skills.”
Freenotes have found their way around the world. In October of 2011, two Harmony Park Amadindas traveled to Uganda for the children at Martin Nkoyoyo Inclusive School in Mukono. The school has 289 children ranging from 5 to 16 years old. 38 of the students are blind, and almost half of them are orphaned and live at the school. In Ugandan society, instruments have a positive impact in reinforcing spiritual, social and cultural heritage.
Carol Puchalski, a Developmental Psychology Consultant at Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver, Colorado was invited to work with the children in Uganda by the school’s founder, Livingstone Nkoyoyo. Of all the tools Puchalski could have taken to the school, she chose Freenotes Amadinda. The Amadindas are native to Ugandan culture and the benefits from playing this traditional music are vast.
“We didn’t have a long enough stay to see what is going to happen with the children and the instruments long term, however while we were there the level of excitement was intense and they were so happy,” Puchalski said. “The instruments were really familiar to them, and you could tell they were having a lot of fun.”
The benefits of Freenotes Harmony Park go beyond behavioral aspects. Partaking in gratifying experiences builds confidence and self-esteem. These instruments invite participation from individuals as well as groups to explore and be enriched. Musical expression is accessible to everyone. Playing music transcends all boundaries of age, ethnicity, gender and physicality helping to build stronger communities.
Freenotes Harmony Park is a sponsor of accessibleplayground.net