Playing With Music

At Montezuma Elementary School in rural Iowa every kid gets to be a cool percussionist and there are no wrong notes. Thanks to the Montezuma Lions Club there are nine musical percussion instruments on the school’s playground. Included with the xylophones is a color-coded music book with notes for songs like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” But as children are quick to demonstrate, there is nothing to stop them from creating their own masterpieces. That’s part of the fun. The percussion playground includes three pairs of conga drums, a babel drum, an eight-pipe chime set, a seven-piece set of tubular bells, and the two xylophones, says Lion Roger Allen, the project chair. When the Lions were researching ideas for a project to celebrate LCI’s centennial and also their club’s 70th anniversary, Allen presented this idea he had seen work successfully in another community. Funding came from the club, grants, the school, and a generous community donor, says Allen.

The Lions club, he says, wanted to support fine arts and provide children with the opportunity to create and appreciate music at a young age. What’s even better is that all of the instruments are wheelchair accessible. Montezuma Elementary music instructor Carrie Burnett says this creative addition to the playground makes music fun for all ages. Every day her students become musicians. And the joy spreads to the children at the day care across the street. The children at Zuma Zoo Daycare next door particularly love the xylophone with the color-coded notes, says their director. Having the musical instruments on the playground isn’t just fun. It adds an educational value to their playtime.