PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
What Experts Tell Us About Musical Toys and Instruments
November 1, 2002
Magic Drum by Embryonics
a given that exposure to music early in a child’s development
enhances learning. But what benefits can we expect from musical
toys in relation to “live” instruments?
toys certainly have their allure, especially for retailers with
limited shelf space. At Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Kids Store Manager
Becca Jones believes that anything that helps a kid connect to music
will lead to other experiences later on. “It’s all good!”
she tells us. “In our store, which caters to a very upscale,
educated clientele, the Step-A-Sound Mat
and Musical Hands Mat (both by International
Toys) are always popular, even with adults. They really
get a workout. Besides being kid magnets, they’re easy to
clean and maintain.” Her personal favorite? “Musini,
by Neurosmith. It’s the toy I’ll be
buying my nephews this Christmas,” she says. "That, and
Sunshine Symphony by the same company, which really
seems to inspire kids."
Kozlowski, winner of Kindermusik’s 2002 Maestro
Award, feels that the special vibrations of live instruments resonate
directly into children’s physical bodies -- as well as their
souls. “The humanness of music speaks to the heart,”
she says. “There’s a sense of community that happens
when playing real music with authentic instruments. It’s something
you just can’t replicate any other way.” Kindermusik
carries a full range of age and developmentally appropriate musical
instruments, many which have an ethnic flavor.
and veteran music educator Karen Holm-Hudson sees children gravitating
with enthusiasm to both instruments and toys. But there is a difference.
“You can feel how your movements interact with the natural
materials of a real instrument to create a particular sound,”
she observes. “Especially with little ones, the interaction
of movement and manipulation is key to learning.”
Concert Grand Piano
new technologies and cognitive research come together to better
support children’s developmental needs, it’s easy to
see why products like motion-activated Musini, a recent ‘Hot
Dozen Pick’ by ToyWishes Magazine, are getting the big buzz.
“All Neurosmith toys are based on rigorous developmental research
and must pass our Advisory Panel before reaching the market,”
Public Relations Specialist Millie Wang says. “We won’t
release anything we’re not proud of.” She promises interesting
add-ons to toys like Musini in the coming year.
real experts, of course, are kids themselves. What sparked their
interest during a recent shopping foray? Between toys and instruments,
the results were equally divided. An irresistibly elegant Schoenhut
Concert Grand Piano (we can’t wait to see the Elite
Baby Grand for 2002!), a Mozart Magic Drum
by Embryonics, a Fischer-Price 2-in-1 Crocodile
Keys Musical Instrument and a Junior Accordion
by First Act -- all took center stage.
them have that much fun, it suddenly didn’t matter that all
they knew how to play was “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.
Industry Overview: Music
Cassettes, Videos and DVD's for the Younger Set
Like The Real Thing, Baby
Side bar: Sing-Song:
Music Makes Kids Smarter
Want to see more Musical Toys?
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