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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Toy keyboards are a hit at Toy Fair


Mukikim's toy pianos and drums at its Toy Fair booth

Mukikim, whose 49-key Rock and Roll It! roll-up piano won the 2016 Creative Child Top Toy Award as well as the ECRM Buyers Choice Award and ASTRA Best Toy of the Year, brought it to last month's Toy Fair along with two new siblings: the multi-colored Rock and Roll It! Rainbow Piano version, and the 61-key and 100-tone MIDI-compatible Studio Piano—for advanced players and offering better electronics with a built-in speaker.

The company also showed a roll-up Rock and Roll It! Studio Drums set with features similar to the Studio Piano, as well as a Drum Live roll-up kit--both new and additions to the Rock and Roll It! Drum, which likewise launched the drum side of the Rock and Roll It! line.

Mukikim's product ranges from $50 to $100 retail. On a much smaller scale, Schylling added to its toy music line with its own $15 23-key electric mini piano, requiring two AA batteries. It comes with 14 classic built-in tunes ranging from Beethoven to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," as well as three instrument tones and three rhythm sections.

Actually a new version of an older model, the plastic piano utilizes a cut-out strip from the cardboard packaging, which becomes a learning template illustration of a music scale that lines up with the out-of-the-box keyboard. And while it's clearly a toy targeted closer to toddlers, Schylling marketing VP George Karalias noted that his daughter, who's a music student at the renowned Berklee College of Music, asked for the toy for her and her friends.

"They wanted to do something similar to what Jimmy Fallon and Mariah Carey did at Christmas," said Karalias, referring to Fallon's and Carey's Tonight Show performance, with the Roots, of "All I Want for Christmas is You," using classroom instruments.

"Professionals are into messing around with children's instruments and the weird sounds they make!" explained Karalias, whose exhibition hall booth was not far from Schoenhut Piano Company's, whose toy pianos, while larger and more expensive, have in fact been employed seriously by professional players.

Schylling, incidentally, also showed a new Hawaiian ukulele as part of its toy music line.



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