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BCI Burke Playground

Children playing with Cirque drums

PlayEnsemble® and Music Education

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." ~Plato

Music is an essential part of being human. Music and art define generations, cultures, religions and is a part of our everyday lives. It can unite the world in a way that words alone cannot. We do not need to speak the same language or come from the same background to understand and appreciate music; it speaks to us as human beings. For some of us, our first musical experience may have been at home when our parents or caregivers sang to us as infants and played singing and rhyming games with us as toddlers. For others, it may have come from a place of worship or school. Regardless of our initial exposure and experience with music, it is something we are all entitled to and in need of, despite physical limitations, location or socioeconomic background.

School music programs are the perfect place for children to gain exposure of music. It is here that a lifelong love and appreciation for music is fostered. In many school settings throughout the country, music begins in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and continues through middle and high school. In the elementary general music setting, students begin to learn the components of music: rhythm, beat, melody, composition, expression and movement. Some programs provide instrumental and choral opportunities for children in elementary through high school as well, such as band, choir and orchestra. According to Hungarian composer and music educator Zoltán Kodály, "Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime." It is the job of the music teacher to know their students, enhance and personalize their learning experiences and offer them the best music education possible. 

Burke's PlayEnsemble® line is the perfect tool to enhance the musical experience in schools, daycare centers and public parks. These wonderful outdoor instruments can be easily integrated into what school music programs are already doing: laying a foundation for music literacy and appreciation for life! Many general music programs have access to a variety of instruments, including xylophones, drums, ukuleles, guitars, recorders and unpitched percussion. The PlayEnsemble® metallophone and chimes are already set in C Major scales, both diatonic and pentatonic. A diatonic scale is comprised of 8 pitches: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, or do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-dó. A pentatonic scale is comprised of 5 pitches: C-D-E-G-A. Pentatonic scales are great for improvising and self-discovery - they are only the best notes and cannot sound bad, therefore setting students up for immediate success. The key of C Major is a low-maintenance scale with no sharps or flats, making it accessible and flexible when paired with other instruments. Because of this, music teachers are able to bring their classrooms outside. Students can easily combine classroom instruments with the PlayEnsemble® chimes, metallophone and drums.