A number of parents have commented to me that finding suitable musical toys and instruments for babies, toddlers and young children is very difficult. The two main problems facing parents are knowing what to look for and where they can be found. Another difficulty is knowing whether a particular toy or instrument is really suitable for the age of the child and whether it is completely safe. Typical questions such as these are commonplace: Are these maracas too heavy for my eight month old child? Is this drum strong enough for my four year old boy? Can we play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on this xylophone? How old should he be to play a full sized guitar? Are the painted castanets safe? What is the difference between a xylophone and a glockenspiel? The solution is very simple. Don’t settle for any shop when looking for musical toys and instruments for your little ones. You must find a reputable music shop that is specifically catering for babies and young children. The best specialist music stores for babies and young children can be found online.
If we think about shopping habits in general we can understand why some people get into difficulty when looking for specialist or niche items. I will give you an illustration. My husband is a keen amateur astronomer and needs various telescopes and lenses to meet the needs of his hobby. Now we have a number of camera shops and photography supply shops where we live. They each stock a couple of fairly basic telescopes suitable perhaps for someone starting out with an interest in astronomy. The staff in these shops know absolutely nothing about astronomy and just a little more than that about the use of the telescopes they stock. Now my husband wouldn’t dream of shopping for any of the things he needs at these stores. He goes online and gets on the phone and contacts a specialist optical supplier. So what’s the difference? The simple answer is – a far greater range, at a far cheaper price, and the expert knowledge about the stock. Take another example. If I want to buy an electronic keyboard suitable for teaching and playing myself I go straight to the music shop that specializes in keyboards. Now K-Mart, Dick Smith, even Myer or Harvey Norman all stock keyboards too. I could go there but I know it would not be a wise choice. Why? The answer is the same as before: a better range, a better price and an expert working knowledge of the instruments. This can only be found at the specialist store.
So coming back to our problem of finding musical toys and instruments for the very young child, there are basically these choices for parents: the toy section in a large department store, a toy shop, a musical instrument shop, an online toy store, or an online specialist children’s musical instrument and musical toy store. It is only the last one of these that can really give you the best result. You will waste a lot of time otherwise and possibly a lot of money. I suggest you look for these characteristics when choosing which online music store to shop at:
1. A store that specializes in musical toys and musical instruments rather than a general toy shop
2. Staff that have musical ability and knowledge so they know how a particular instrument should be played
3. Staff that have expertise and knowledge of early childhood and young children’s development
4. A good range of products suitable for children from infancy through to upper primary school
5. A range of lower priced good quality small percussion instruments as well as higher priced instruments
6. Personal service. Don’t be reluctant to phone and/or email. A prompt response is a good sign
7. Secure online ordering as well as options to order by mail/phone/ email
8. Same day turnaround and prompt delivery
I am very proud of the service provided, and the quality and range of the instruments in our online store. I make regular checks with local music shops and toy stores to make sure that we are very competitive. Early childhood is such an important time for the development of your child, and music plays such a pivotal role in that development. So why shop with anyone but the experts in that area?