This rapidly growing body of research elucidating the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive benefits of both music and nature is comprehensive and compelling for people of all ages and abilities.
The research-based benefits of music in nature include:
- Singing, playing instruments, or merely listening to music releases neurotransmitters in the brain which facilitate our ability to bond with one another and experience pleasure.
- Experiencing music with others generates oxytocin, which is what enables us to feel a sense of belonging.
- Nature restores mental functioning in the brain the same way that water and food fuel our bodies.
- A growing body of research confirms that experiencing music in nature positively engages the brain, builds social cohesion, and creates the conditions to build harmonious communities.
- Outdoor music spaces engage people of all ages, races, and musical ability to experience and share their creative expressions of tones, rhythms, and melodies.
- Experiencing music in outdoor settings promotes community engagement and greater individual happiness as it relaxes, soothes, and feeds the soul.
- The collective enjoyment of music builds a sense of social cohesion and a creates a shared human experience.
- Listening to music has been shown to have a positive effect on those with neurological brain disorders.
The evidence is profound: making music is beneficial for children, families, and communities and the outdoor environment is the ideal location. Multigenerational users can collaborate in these musical spaces in interesting and creative ways. A well-designed outdoor music environment services diverse users, accentuates natural attributes of the outdoor setting, and provides intentionally harmonizing musical elements that facilitate discovery and bring joy to every experience. Understanding how to plan settings that engage diverse users, across a variety of locations is important to ensure the space invites collaboration in creative ways, not just for those who play, but for people who participate as listeners, and even observers. In Partnership with Dr. Melissa Hughes, grammy award-winning musician Richard Cooke, and a host of contributors, we’ve created Natural Harmony, An Instrumental Guide to Blending Outdoor Music & Community, where communities can learn the many benefits of outdoor music settings, as well as ways to plan, design, activate, fund, and market these valuable community assets. The book also contains a wealth of case studies to illustrate communities that have successfully put these evidence-based resources into practice.
"Experiencing music in outdoor settings promotes community engagement and greater individual happiness as it relaxes, soothes, and feeds the soul."
-Dr. Melissa Hughes