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February 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 2
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Musical Toys


With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

In 2011 digital music sales surpassed physical album sales for the first time, according to a report by CNN. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that when TDmonthly interviewed retailers about their best selling CDs and musical toys, 10 of the 13 said that they don't sell CDs at all anymore.

Sales of more traditional music toys remain strong. The most popular musical product was the Educo Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench by HAPE INTERNATIONAL INC., with three of the 13 retailers naming it as their best selling musical toy. Others mentioned items for older kids, like the Melody Harp by TROPHY MUSIC, and inexpensive add-ons, like Translucent Harmonicas from TOYSMITH.

See the rest of the Top-10 Musical Toys below.

No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.




MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 1 to 5
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Preschool



Pounding sends the balls tinkling over the xylophone. Pull out the keyboard and the xylophone can be played solo. All Hape products comply with EN71 and ASTM quality standards - wood used comes from FSC managed forests.
Awards: May 2012 TDmonthly Top Toy Award. Why it won: This item was named a Top-10 Musical toy in February and a Top-10 Wooden toy in March by specialty retailers interviewed by TDmonthly. Its innovative design combines the elements of the popular shape sorting/tapping toy and the xylophone, giving it great play value.
— As of 1/6/2012 this product had 4.2 out of 5 stars from 13 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Durable; lots of ways to play. Cons: The keyboard is not properly tuned.
— In a 2012 survey about Musical Products, three out of 13 retailers said this item was their best seller. Kelly Boone, manager of The Elephant's Trunk in Greenville, S.C., told TDmonthly that they sold at least 36 during the holidays.
— In a February 2012 survey about wooden toys, two out of 14 retailers said that this was their bestseller in the category. Kristin Dolle, manager of Playthings Toy Shoppe in Louisville, Ky. told TDmonthly that they sell between 8 and 12 units of this item each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33433      (added 1/9/2012)
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MSRP: $29.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Preschool



This keyboard encourages interactive play with lots of buttons to press and plenty of musical choices for singing, playing, and recording. The Meowsic Keyboard comes with a book of lyrics and a small book of favorite kid quotes posted on the B Quote Gallery. Has a record button with instant play back, five instrument sounds and five beat choices, as well as a 20-song playlist that includes seven cat-themed songs.
— As of 1/6/2012 this product had 4 out of 5 stars from 60 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Lots of songs to choose from; Includes black keys as well as white keys. Cons: Some parents very strongly believed that the pre-recorded songs sounded terrible, and that the songs sung with "meow" instead of regular lyrics were intolerably annoying; a few reported that certain keys wouldn't work simultaneously.
— In a 2012 survey about musical products, two of 13 retailers told TDmonthly that the Meowsic Keyboard from Battat was their top seller in the category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33434      (added 1/9/2012)
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MSRP: $45.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Preschool
Musical Toys



This boxed, musical trio includes trumpet, saxophone and clarinet with color-coded keys and a shiny silver sheen. Bontempi’s boxed horns are color coded and with Bontempi’s 7 Note 7 Color Musical method, can be played right out of the box.
— This shiny trio of instruments is a best seller at Kazoo & Company in Denver, Owner Diana Nelson told TDmonthly in early 2009.
— Jeanne McCullough, owner of Children's Store Inc. in Boise, Idaho, said in January 2010 that her Bontempi instruments “sell like crazy.”
— “[They are] great little instruments that sound nice,” said Nerice Kendter, owner of Busy Bee Toys in Doylestown, Pa., when asked by TDmonthly about best sellers in the music department.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15107      (added 9/10/2007)
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MSRP: $3.50
Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Choose from four different colors (purple, orange, green and blue). This real harmonica comes with its own carrying case, too.
― They sell about 8 or 9 harmonicas per month at Toy City in Keene, N.H. “You have a birthday party, and it spikes," Manager Robert Hunter shared with TDmonthly.
— In a 2012 survey, Teresa Derry, owner of Annie's Toy Chest in Cocoa, Fla., told TDmonthly that her best selling musical product was, "Kazoos from Toysmith; [we sold] about 10-12 last month. They are an inexpensive, quick gift add-on," she explained.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8570      (added 7/14/2006)
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MSRP: $21.99
Age Range: 1 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Preschool
Infant & Toddler



This award-winning set includes a mini rainbow shaker, baby maraca, baby rattle and cage bell. Includes a vinyl carrying case.
Awards: 2007 Creative Child Magazine Top Toy of the Year Award
— As of 01/09/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 24 reviews on Amazon.com.
— In a January 2012 survey, Dean Smith, co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly that their best selling musical item was, "Baby Band from Hohner — we had them for just a few months, and sold 15/month. It's a popular item."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33435      (added 1/9/2012)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys



This large drum comes with an adjustable lanyard and toddler hand size's drumsticks that are perfect for beating on the big drum.
— "We are all occasionally guilty of under rating the value of simpler toys, but you can't do better for gross motor planning, grasping, or cause and effect for your toddler than a drum like the natural wood Big Drum from Plan Toys. The drum sticks are the right size for toddlers and the drum has a really nice woody sort of sound. Another great product from Plan Toys," Jennifer Shuman, owner of 1SmartNoodle, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.
— Plan Toys is one of Owner Donna Fredericks’ best-selling wooden lines at The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C.
— Gary Green, owner of The Toy Box of Asheville in Asheville, N.C., told TDmonthly in a January 2012 survey about musical products that they sold 30 of this item each month during the holiday shopping season.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27134      (added 2/16/2010)
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MSRP: $9.00
Age Range: All Ages
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Music



Brass wind instruments have played an important role in the music of New Orleans since the Spanish-American War, and were vital tools for the development of jazz during the first half of the 20th century. Putumayo's New Orleans Brass collection taps the contemporary scene for a characteristically pleasurable range of rhythms and moods. The lineup includes the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, James and Troy Andrews, the Yockamo All-Stars, Leroy Jones, and John Boutté. Artists performing in perhaps slightly more old-fashioned styles are Glen Andrews & the Lazy Six, the Preservation Hall Hot 4, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Bob French's Original Tuxedo Band with Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown, and the Dukes of Dixieland, a much hipper-sounding ensemble than the mainstream Dixie pop group of the same name that made million-selling LPs during the 1950s and '60s. Once again, Putumayo offers substantial, accessible music to groove and move to, this time in the form of a good healthy shot of soulful sounds right up off of the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana.
— Jen Fairclough, assistant manager of Magic Box LTD in New Orleans, La., told TDmonthly in a January 2012 survey that they sell six of this CD, which plays in the store, each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33436      (added 1/9/2012)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys
Infant & Toddler
Wooden Toys



Strike up the band with this toddler-safe set of wooden rhythm instruments for kids 18 months and older. Four friendly, easy-to-grasp instruments jingle, shake and clack. The instruments promote fine motor, auditory and creative expression skills while instilling appreciation of music and movement.
— In a January 2012 survey, Jen Fairclough, assistant manager of Magic Box LTD in New Orleans, La., told TDmonthly that they sell six of this item each month, making it one of their top-two best selling musical products.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32224      (added 5/2/2011)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



The Melody Harp makes it easy for kids and adults to sound like they've taken music lessons for years. Users simply slide a song sheet under the strings, fold down the "tab" to hold the music in place and follow the "dots" with their pick. he Melody Harp is designed with extra strong string posts. They will not bend under string pressure, making it easier to tune and stay in tune. Music is printed on durable and easy-to-keep-clean glossy catalog cover stock. The words to each song are printed right on each music sheet. Includes 12 song sheets.
— Marc Holcomb, owner of Toys & Co. in Greensboro, N.C., told TDmonthly in a January 2012 survey that they sell 4-5 units of the Melody Harp each month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11121      (added 1/12/2007)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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