The EcoSonic Playground Project

What is the EcoSonic Playground Project™?

The EcoSonic Playground Project™ (ESPP) aims to address three pressing issues faced by the global learning community; access to music and arts education, integration of STEM, and sustainability. The ESPP works with children of all ages to design, build, and play large-scale, multi-player musical instrument structures made from recycled materials.


The global learning community faces several pressing issues. 

The EcoSonic (Ecology/Sound) Playground Project™ (ESPP) aims to address three of them:

  1. Equal access to music and arts education.
  2. Engaging students in engineering, science, and math education.
  3. Fostering  sustainable practices.

The ESPP focuses on working with children of all ages to design, build, and play large-scale, multi-player musical instrument structures made from reusable materials.

It incorporates musical exploration, engineering, science, math, design thinking, and open creativity into an immersion learning curriculum.

Focused, differentiated, and developmentally appropriate teaching practice inform all aspects of this project.

What makes the EcoSonic Playground Project™ unique is its adaptability.

We design each ESPP program to fit your needs.

What it does

  • The EcoSonic Playground Project™ helps teachers facilitate their students’ growth as creative, collaborative, culturally aware, and socially responsible individuals.
  • It offers avenues for learning in the areas of general musicianship skills, improvisation, composition, and collaborative music making.
  • It demonstrates the connections between music education, socio-cultural aptitudes, and engineering/science/math/design education.
  • It offers a low-cost learning platform that helps educators achieve these objectives using resources already at their disposal.

How it works

We will come to you – either literally (if you happen to be in the Boston or surrounding areas) or figuratively (we will send EcoSonic Playground Project™ Kits to those of you who are interested but too far for us to reach you).

The ESPP is fully grant supported. We may ask your school or organization to contribute to the cost of materials based on a sliding scale: Our goal is to provide materials to as many learning communities as possible.

However, if your school or community organization qualifies as low socioeconomic status, we will provide an ESPP kit for free.

Kit materials include:

  1. EcoSonic Playground Project™ building materials

  2. Curriculum guides for sustainable activities, designing, and building the instruments and scaffolding

  3. A comprehensive music curriculum

Students design and build their ESPP and then play it in class.

Students play their ESPP in concert.

Dr. Elissa Johnson-Green

ESPP Project Lead and Lead Investigator

Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education

University of Massachusetts Lowell

ESPP Partners

Dr. Rocio Rosales

Associate Professor of Psychology

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Collaborator: Present

Dr. Christopher Lee

Assistant Teaching Professor of Music

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Co-Lead: 2015-2018

Major partner: 2019-2020

Anthony Beatrice

Executive Director for the Arts

Visual and Performing Arts Department

ASSET | Boston Public Schools

Collaborator: 2018

Dr. Michael Flannery

Head of Department

Department of Arts, Mathematics, PE and

Early Childhood

Marino Institute of Education

University of Dublin, Trinity College

Collaborator: 2016-2018

Please contact us for information about how to become an ESPP partner program.

Copyright © 2021 The University of Massachusetts Lowell. All rights reserved. The EcoSonic Playground Project is a trademark of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.