10 Best Toddler Pianos | March 2017
- also has percussion sounds
- easy to use volume adjustment buttons
- no microphone option
- fully functional major and minor keys
- can play preset tunes or freestyle
- cannot turn off the flashing lights
- made with safe, high quality materials
- battery saving auto shut-off feature
- kitty songs can be annoying to parents
- made of heavy duty vinyl
- multiple children can play it at once
- even works on carpet
- has fun music and dancing lights
- has volume control options
- baby seat slides back and forth
- has a 1 to 8 count-along mode
- appropriate for children age 12+ months
- encourages an interest in music
- never needs tuning
- high-gloss finish
- includes a patented learning system
Tickling The Keys: The Toddler Piano
A piano is a great gift for a toddler for myriad reasons. First, 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 will enjoy pressing down a key and creating a distinct sound long before they are aware that said sound might be the note Middle C or a High G, for example. And then again, a child "playing with" a piano may soon enough find himself or herself actually playing the piano; 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 (or other gift giver) must first make a critical decision: they must decide if they prefer a unit that is more of a toy or that is more of a genuine musical instrument. In the former category, there are myriad options, many of which can be had for between fifteen and twenty dollars.
There is one category of toy pianos that uses electronics to create sounds. And these sounds often go well beyond simply a note played when a key is struck; often such pianos will include preprogrammed songs, sound effects, voice recordings, and more. And such toys also often feature flashing lights, attached baubles and other toys, and are usually colorful to the point of being dazzling. Such "pianos" are fine so long as one accepts that they are indeed toys, not real instruments, and as such are designed more to pass time than to provide any meaningful musical experience. (Indeed a toy that plays songs for a child may even have a deleterious effect on the youngster who enjoys listening to music created for him or her rather than playing it on their own.)
In the other category we have compact pianos that act, for all intents and purposes, like a scaled down version of a standard piano. A strike of the 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. Many keyboards are not marketed for toddlers but which may suit a small child well.)
Perfect Tunes For Tots
With a bit of practice (and adult assistance, at least at first) even a young toddler can actually 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 and uses 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, most likely, he or she will already know how to sing, thus making mastery of the tune that much easier. Try Mary Had a Little Lamb if you want your young pianist to excel with ease. Only four notes are required to play the piece, and they can be found on almost any piano out there, even a child's toy with but a few keys. 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 but also adds in the A and F, bringing the total note count to six and adding a bit more complexity to begin building the youngster's skill set.
Next consider moving on to songs that remain simple but require the use of two hands to play, such as Chopsticks. Which was, by the way, originally known as The Celebrated Chop Waltz.
The Gifted Child Pianist
Don't think that a toddler playing music on his or her piano for amusement is not also creating the muscle memory and neural pathways that might well 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 farther than a few of the most famed musicians of all time. Witness first 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 was performing music publicly in 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.
But still 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 by 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. And if all the piano provides is amusement and happiness, it will still be well worth its purchase price.