Sustaining Outdoor Music Environments

After planning, designing, and installing quality outdoor music environments, consideration should be given to maintenance and care of the instruments. In general, outdoor music parks require little maintenance; however, proper selection, frequent inspections, and cleaning of the instruments are important to ensure extended usability and enjoyment for all.

Quality and Durability

Quality outdoor musical instruments are designed and engineered to be extremely durable with a long-life span and should withstand weather; heat, cold, humidity, rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Some instruments come fully assembled and remain tuned throughout their lifetime, which helps ensure that the beautiful sounds will sustain as long as the instrument is intact. Even with normal wear and tear, quality outdoor instruments should still maintain the high-quality sound they had the day they were installed. Be sure to ask the product manufacturer for a list of places that their instruments have been installed for ten years or more to get a better understanding of their quality. If high use and durability is a concern, consider choosing instruments made with non-PVC materials like anodized aluminum, stainless steel, or powder coated steel. Plastic resonators can crack over time and may not have the same lifespan as instruments made with more durable materials.  

Maintenance and Care

High-quality products can be very low-maintenance but just like any outdoor space, music environments do require some maintenance to help increase their lifespan and ensure users have a great experience. Obtaining the manufacturer’s care and maintenance recommendations can help educate music park owners about the attention and care that will help ensure a longer lifespan and extended use. Depending on the surface used, the space may need to be mowed throughout the growing season, mulch may need to be replenished, and snow may need to be removed. Inspections of the instruments themselves are recommended on a planned and consistent cycle.

Inspection and Maintenance Considerations 

Play the instruments regularly to check the sound and function. Instruments can be cleaned with soap and water. Be sure to check mallets for condition and proper attachment, and inspect bar and chime attachment cables. Additional maintenance may be required depending on the site, its amenities and surfacing, and volume of usage. To clean stubborn dirt or marks on aluminum chimes or keys, use a heavy-duty residue remover recommended by the manufacturer. For maintenance questions or replacement parts, contact your manufacturer. Maintaining and refreshing your outdoor music environment is an important part of ensuring its lifespan while also providing high quality music experiences for your community. Coordinating your outdoor music inspection with other maintenance routines, like nearby playground safety inspections, can help increase the visibility and consistency of proactive checks. Friends groups and other volunteer resources can also be helpful ambassadors and champions. 

Thinking about an outdoor music venue in your space?

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