Music for Trees: the app connecting walkers with nature through classical music

Music for Trees lets walkers  listen to original music composed just for Regents Park, photograph: Lina Kivaka

Music for Trees was launched last year in the aim to bring walkers in Regents Park closer to the trees around them through originally composed classical music

Text Mirabella Shahidullah

Walking through a park, your thoughts often wonder away from you and a positive moment can quickly turn negative. Thinking about work, chores or other stress-inducing tasks can take away the benefits of actually connecting with the outdoors and benefitting your mental health. The solution to appreciate your surroundings more could be quickly solvable with just a download of a single app, Music for Trees. The app was launched by the Royal Parks last year with the aim of connecting walkers in Regents Park with trees through original pieces of classical music.

The idea for the app was first conceptualised by Royal Parks arboriculturist, Matt Steinmann, who came up with the concept at work while he was tree surveying. In an interview with the Royal Parks, Steinmann explained his inspiration, ‘I spend a lot of time slowly assessing the condition of the roots, trunk and canopy. I tend to listen to music while I work, and sometimes the music seems a perfect accompaniment to the tree. I took the next step and imagined whether the music could be composed for trees.’

The Royal Parks hope to create an interactive and relaxing experience for users of the app

The Royal Parks created the app by partnering with students from the Royal Academy of Music, who are the ones playing the original scores. The young composers were given a lesson on arboriculture before interpreting and creating the sounds that allow visitors to experience Regents Park through an immersive soundtrack.

As you walk, the sounds continue to change and layer over each other, making the music an interactive part of your experience. The app also recommends you try to look at trees in new ways by taking the time to notice small changes in nature, such as ‘walking beneath the foliage on a sunny day’ or ‘notice how different leaves shimmer in the wind.’  Alexandra, a master’s student at University College London and a frequent user of Music for Trees says, ‘it makes me feel more curious about trees and nature and has me discovering new things about trees by looking at them closely… which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.’

By taking time to notice the small changes in nature, Steinmann hopes users find the app intriguing and fun, ‘spending time outdoors in nature can really make you feel good, so I hope people take the opportunity to step out of their daily lives for a little while.’

Music for Trees is free to use and downloadable on both Apple and Google app stores.


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