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September 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 9




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TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Musical Toys

Percussion Ain't Singin' the Blues


With additional reporting by regional correspondents Virginia Davis, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Erik Jay, Christine Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero

Kids are hitting and banging their way to musical joy, according to the 45 specialty retailers who recently spoke with TDmonthly Magazine. With the exception of Toysmith's Metal Harmonica and Small World's Tune In Violin, every other top-10 item involves some form of percussion. Trophy Maracas and Latin Percussion Eggs are shaking up the category, while Schylling and Hohner ring true with their Xylophone and Glockenspiel offerings. See Wind Instruments Blow Past Electronics for the trends.

Here's what's in tune with today's kids:




MSRP: $2.50
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Kids can transform their musical imaginations into melodic reality with this metal harmonica that comes in assorted colors.
— Four of 45 retailers cited Toysmith Harmonicas as hot-sellers as summer 2007 approached. Retailers cited average monthly sales of six to 12 units. Six of 48 specialty retailers said in January 2010 that harmonicas are the most popular choice in their music departments.
— Donna Schwedler, manager of Treasured Child in La Grange, Ky., said in early 2010 that harmonicas are popular in Christmas stockings and Easter baskets.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14255      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $4.95
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



These Mini Maracas allow kids to participate in just about any style of music. They're loud enough to be heard, but  small enough to take along on trips and vacations. Made of specially formulated plastic, they produce a stage-quality authentic sound and come in a variety of colors.
— Maracas by Trophy were cited as one of the best-selling musical toys in the store of  Gwen Bowden, manager at Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va.
— Four of 45 retailers TDmonthly spoke with said Trophy maracas and shakers are hot-selling musical toys.
— Retailers said they sell from three to 30 maracas or shakers a month from Trophy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14256      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



This 10-piece set of musical instruments (heavy on the percussion with maracas, a tambourine and a triangle) lets a child explore the wonders of sound, music, anthropology or just the fun of making some noise.
― Richard Gibson, owner of Learning Express of Newton, Mass., says his store sells about 6 or 7 of these sets per month.
— In summer 2008, Meredith Zellweger, owner of Toy Jungle in Manhattan Beach, Calif., touted this set as her “go-to musical toy.” Melanie Anderson of Daly City, Calif., said, “The kids have so much fun playing with them. They are real instruments, not plastic imitations that don´t sound quite right. This was a purchase I don´t regret.” 
— Three of 45 retailers cited Band in a Box when asked about best-selling musical toys in mid 2007, citing sales of between three and 10 units per month. Seven of 48 retailers named it as a musical best seller in January 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4401      (added 8/31/2005)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



This 10.5"-long xylophone comes in a tray box with brightly colored metal plates that create soft and melodic tones when struck by the two included sticks. Notes are printed on the plates for easy play.
— "The small Wooden Xylophone from Schylling," said Tom England, owner of Dancing Bear Toys & Gifts in Frederick, Md., when asked about musical toys that sell well in his store.
— Two of 45 retailers cited the Schylling Xylophone as a customer-favorite musical toy, with average sales of about a dozen units a month.
— "Little musicians just love it," said Stephen Medina of Schylling Toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14257      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 3 to 9
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Kids can perform like a pro with the electronic Tune in Violin with bow that produces 18 pre-programmed tunes and a light show, too. Made of plastic, the instrument features volume control and requires 2 AA batteries (not included). "Featuring a bow that moves over faux strings to create realistic notes, flashing lights and 18 different programmed songs that children can listen to or play along with, the Tune in Violin is a playful way to encourage imaginative play, develop cognitive thinking and instill a lasting love of music," said Debra Fine, CEO of Small World Toys.
— “The Tune In Violin or the Saxophone from Small World still seems to be our most popular seller,” said Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa.
— This product was named as a top-10 best seller by Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., in spring 2008. “It’s a good, interactive toy and good quality,” he said, noting a few months later that he sells about 30 per month.
— Three of 45 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in summer 2007 said Small World or Neurosmith musical toys were selling well, reporting average sales of about 10 to 20 units a month. Ten percent of 68 retailers listed Small World as their top supplier of musical toys in summer 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14258      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $6.50
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



These new and safety-approved capless egg shakers provide kids with quick, delicate and responsive shaker sounds. Constructed of durable wipe-clean plastic and filled with non-toxic steel shot, the Egg Shakers make sweet, reliable and rhythmic sounds for kids and adults alike. "Our egg shaker is unique because of our patented design sealing process. Other egg shakers are seamed in the middle or have a glued end cap. In other words, ours is safer and has a better appearance," said Ray Enhoffer, director of R&D at Latin Percussion.
—  "Shakers are the type of toy that might be selling in the music section. We get them from LP RythMix," said Tristan Hewitt, manager at Dragon's Toy Box in Seattle. “Everybody needs some egg shakers,” said Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toy Store in Anchorage, Alaska. “They’re perfect for baby hands, and I sell them to lots of grown-ups for all kinds of things.”
— Two of 45 retailers told TDmonthly in 2007 that shakers from Latin Percussion are popular with their customers, citing sales of about 30 and 120 units monthly. Six percent of 68 retailers said in July 2008 that egg shakers are their top-selling musical toy.
— Egg shakers are “perfect for little ones to hold in their baby hands, and non-toxic,” Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo & Company in Denver, told TDmonthly of this best seller in her store in January 2009. “It's something simple and not too noisy for a parent; I think that's why they do well,” explained Sherry Peddie, manager of  Applause Kids in Bracebridge, Ontario, in January 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14259      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $17.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



Eight multi-colored, precision tuned bars give any toddler room to make bright, colorful sounds. This product includes an attractive vinyl bag and child-safe mallet.
— When asked about hot-selling music items in his store, Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, said, "Probably the Hohner toddler [Glockenspiel].”
— Larene said he sells about 10 a month of the Hohner xylophone-like toy.
— Two of 45 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly said Hohner musical toys are customer favorites.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6386      (added 1/6/2006)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 1 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



According to Susan Tice, product manager and public relations director for International Playthings, “What is very special about this drum is that it plays music as it is rolled on the floor. Pre-walkers can be rewarded for pushing the toy by hearing the music and seeing the lights flash.”
— "International Plaything's little drum — the Flash Beat Drum" is one of the top musical toys at Perfect Toy in Avon, Conn., Owner Peter Scott told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— Two of 45 retailers said drums from International Playthings are tops in their music sections.
— Both said they sell about a dozen of these drums in any given month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1676      (added 12/7/2004)
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AD


MSRP: $18.99
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



This childproof drum stimulates the development of a child's spatial perception, limb muscles and auditory nerves. Measuring about 6” in diameter, it is decorated with colorful graphics and the drumstick has a rubber head to soften the sound.
— Marilyn Sipila, owner of Toys Etc. in Poulsbo, Wash., told TDmonthly that drums and other musical toys from Plan Toys are among the best sellers in her store.
— Sipila said she sells about a half a dozen Plan musical toys a month, in a category that's not particularly strong in her store. 
– Of the 63 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly, five singled out Plan Toys as the maker of the best-selling wooden toy items in their store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14260      (added 7/23/2007)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Musical Toys



The Learn-to-Play Piano holds the keys to playing a colorful tune. This brightly painted upright features 25 keys and two full octaves to give kids a wide range of notes to play. It also comes with an illustrated songbook and teaching key chart to help kids identify notes on the scale. The Learn-to-Play Piano measures 15.75" x 11.5" x 9.5".
— "Our small children’s piano by Melissa & Doug is big," said Susan Castor, owner of Pentwater Toy Box in Pentwater, Mich.
—    Four of 45 retailers told TDmonthly in summer 2007 that Melissa & Doug items are continuing hot sellers.
—  The four retailers are located in northern states.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14261      (added 7/23/2007)
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Dennis FurlanWriter's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author

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