Spielwarenmesse: Playing instruments made easy with modern music & sound toys

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Kinder spielen mit Instrumenten aus Holz


Playing instruments made easy with modern music & sound toys

from Maria Costa

As the interest in teaching music to children is increasing, so it is the quality and sophistication of the musical toys that are reaching the market. Music, the production of all sorts of sounds combined to create a melody, represents an amazing source of innovation for our industry.

Music instruments by First Act Discovery
Music instruments by First Act Discovery

Some companies are developing toys based on traditional instruments. These toys are offering children the possibility to play with high-quality instruments in an easier way than playing the real ones but getting a sound almost as good.

Check for instance Loog guitars, a three strings guitar that reduces chords to the basic triad. They are not only beautiful, well-designed guitars, the sound they produce is great as they use real guitar strings and standard guitar tuning. Accompanied with flashcards and an app with video-lessons, a tuner, and other features, kids can learn to play their favorite songs in a very playful way, getting a result quite similar to the music they would be able to get with a regular guitar.

In the last Spielwarenmesse® we could see a broad range of beginning instruments targeting kids. For instance, we could listen to the appealing sounds that the instruments from the company First Act Discovery could produce. Instruments that present an easier and fun way to learn that results in a very engaging experience.

Apart from classical instruments, another example I can recommend is the toy to build a synthesizer by Little bits, co-designed with world-renowned electronic instrument maker KORG. The Synth Kit brings children the possibility to make a great range of sounds and beats, just like professional electronic musicians.

littleBits Synth Kit in collaboration with KORG

Innovative and surprising ways to produce music through toys

Mainly new entrepreneurs are thinking about music in a broader manner, beyond traditional instruments. They are conceiving completely new products to create and compose music. Most of the times these are also toys that are simpler and more intuitive to play than regular instruments, which helps children get engaged with them right away.

The toy Musicon is an excellent example. The company that develops it describes it as a new instrument for children 3 and up to learn composing and coding at the same time. A product that has received some of the most prestigious design recognitions such as the Red Dot Design Award, the Core 77 Design Award, the IF Design Award, et cetera.

Musicon – 2017 the year of a Revolution (Musicon Club)

Another great product, this time presented at the last Spielwarenmesse®, is BeatMoovz, a wearable that turns the movement of the player’s hands or feet into music. It simply works when the kid makes gestures, dances or does active exercise. Each movement generates a different musical beat. It can be combined with other player’s sounds in a fun and intuitive manner to create all sorts of fun melodies in collaboration.

Actually, after seeing some of the innovations presented at the last Spielwarenmesse® it seems that everything can become an instrument, for instance "The new Elsa by Hasbro. A doll that presents a very creative way to generate melodies by touching different places on its dress. The areas touched light up while producing sounds, adding a charming effect to the whole play experience.

Dolls can become instruments, but also all kinds of toys. For instance building blocks. Check the Lego Boost Guitar 4000, a kit for children to build their own guitar that afterwards can be coded through an app. A genius way to engage children into science and art!

Let the music play

Creating music, an activity that entertains while being also highly educative, is inspiring the toy industry for new playing experiences. Music can be produced in any number of ways, so toy companies, no matter what their category is, can really be innovative by adding adequate musical features to their toys. Think about producing music in an easier, more intuitive way.

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Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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