The 10 Best Toddler Pianos
10. Kidzlane Music Mat
- auto shutoff feature
- folds up for easy storage
- the demo tunes are irritating
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. Baby Einstein Table
- flip book for easy mode changes
- light-up drum station
- tends to slide on wood floors
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
8. LeapFrog Poppin' Play
- adjustable volume control
- good for children aged 1 and up
- the batteries don't last
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
7. Dimple Mat
- demo learning and free play modes
- material is easy to clean
- doesn't come with batteries
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
6. Bonwayer Multifunctional
- price is affordable
- 1-year warranty
- the included xylophone is very small
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
5. Melissa & Doug 1315
- safety hinge on lid
- color-coded key chart and songbook
- keys tend to stick
|Brand||Melissa & Doug|
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. VTech KidiStudio
- dj scratch disc sound effect
- microphone with a voice changer
- learning curve is a bit steep
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. Schoenhut Traditional Spinet
- arrives chromatically tuned
- music rods made from german steel
- songbook is included
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Huile Electronic Keyboard
- interactive turtle bunny and duck
- recording and playback functionality
- comes with a stool
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Fisher-Price Baby Grand
- integrated metronome keeps time
- interactive slides buttons and dials
- relatively easy to assemble
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
Tickling The Keys: The Toddler Piano
A piano is a great gift for a toddler for many reasons. The young child can enjoy hours of fun tapping away at the keys of a piano, even without a direct association between the sounds produced and music at large. Kids love cause and effect activities and enjoy pressing down a key and creating a distinct sound long before they are aware that they're playing notes at all. There's no telling when a gifted musician will first discover a passion for music, so the earlier they can be exposed, the better.
Before selecting a toddler piano, the parent must first decide if they prefer a unit that resembles a toy or a genuine musical instrument. From the toy perspective, many can be had for a very reasonable price. Some pianos leverage electronic sounds that often go well beyond simply a note played when a key is struck. These types of pianos include preprogrammed songs, sound effects, voice recordings, and flashing lights, and are usually brightly-colored.
In the other category, we have compact pianos that act as scaled-down versions of standard pianos, whereby the strike of a key produces a note (usually using a bell-like tine instead of a string) and many of which feature two full octaves.
Note that an exception in the category of electronic pianos comes in those higher digital keyboards that recreate notes approximating the sound of a genuine, full-sized piano.
Perfect Tunes For Tots
With a bit of practice (and adult assistance), even a young toddler can learn to play simple songs on his or her piano. If you want your young musician to be able to play music with minimal help, the key is to find a song that features only a few notes with plenty of repetition.
When in doubt, stick to the classics. One of the easiest songs to teach a child to play is a piece of music that he or she will already know how to sing, thus making mastery of the tune that much easier. Try songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb if you want your young pianist to excel with ease, as only four notes are required to play the piece. The song requires the notes E, D, C and G to be played in time with syllables of the lyrics, making it easy to play the song at whatever pace is comfortable for the child. Another classic song that likewise matches the strike of each key to the syllables of the lyrics is none other than Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. This song requires the same notes as Mary Had a Little Lamb with the addition of A and F, bringing the total note count to six and adding a bit more complexity to begin building the youngster's skill set.
Finally, consider moving on to songs that remain simple but require the use of two hands to play, such as Chopsticks, originally known as The Celebrated Chop Waltz.
The Gifted Child Pianist
Don't think that a toddler playing music on a piano for amusement is not creating the muscle memory and neural pathways that lay the groundwork for a future proclivity for music. It's no great secret that certain people simply possess an aptitude for certain pastimes (think of the so-called "natural" athlete or the gifted mathematician, for example), but the sooner a person is allowed to capitalize on their abilities, the more fully their skills can be honed and developed.
For evidence of the importance of early exposure to musical instruments, look no further than a few of the most famed musicians of all time. Witness the early start of the career of Ludwig van Beethoven, who had commenced a dedicated study of music by the time he turned five years old and who also performed music publicly by 1778, his seventh year of life. He would go on to compose some of the most famous symphonies, sonatas, and concertos the world has ever known in his 56 years of life.
Even more impressive than the early musical aptitude of Beethoven was that of his rough contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. By the age of five, Mozart was not only playing music, but was in fact composing original pieces. Mozart's musical odyssey began at the age of three. He showed keen interest in striking the keys of the clavichord -- a forerunner to the piano -- upon which his father taught his older sister to play music. It soon became clear that young Mozart could easily identify notes, follow tunes, and even create his own musical arrangements. He began to perform music as a celebrated child prodigy at the age of six, and by the time he was eight years old, Mozart was composing symphonies.
There's little guarantee that getting your toddler a piano will pave the way for him or her to become an internationally renowned musician, but there's no doubting that it will help tease out any skills lying hidden within. If all the piano provides is amusement and happiness, it will still be well worth its purchase price.