Buying a mini grand piano for a toddler: my review of the Ts-ideen Kids Mini Piano on Amazon
My 3 year old daughter had become slightly obsessed with the idea of a real looking baby piano after she saw one at a friend's house (it was beautiful and we are very lucky she didn't set her sights on a drum kit!). But we did wonder if it was silly to spend so much money on a toy. My husband is musical (I'm not!) and he was also worried she might pick up some bad habits or get bored with it quickly.
I use the word 'toy' because these mini grand pianos don't have strings like the real thing. Instead, they work a bit like a xylophone. They have all of the same keys as an actual piano but they don't sound the same (I've made a You Tube video below of my daughter playing).
In the end, we decided that a mini grand piano was a good idea as it would encourage her love of music and build her confidence.
WHICH BABY GRAND PIANO?
We bought the Ts-ideen Kids Mini Piano which comes with a stool and a 'Play by Colours' music book. It's a German brand, made of solid wood and a high gloss finish. It sounds nice and my daughter really loves it. As an added bonus - it looks good in our lounge.
There are quite a few similar quality pianos around this price range (£100) and I was tempted by a few. My favourites are the French desgined Vilac (£110) and the Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Classic Grand Piano (£86.60).
Schoenhut is the top brand in the baby piano market. They've been making them for decades and from what I've read, you can't go wrong with one of these. Apparently the sound is slightly more realistic. But prices start from £175...so not in our price bracket.
From the minute we opened the boxI knew I was going to be happy. It just looks solid and well made. It's wood with a lovely high gloss finish. I thought the screws looked a bit chunkier than I was expecting but it's still elegant. It took just ten minutes to put together (well, my father-in-law did it! But I could have). It came almost fully assembled and the legs just needed to be screwed in.
Edited to add: It seems the company no longer makes the piano with the lifting up lid (as seen in my photos). So please check the description carefully before buying to avoid disappointment.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?
If you're thinking of buying a mini grand piano, you'll read a lot of reviews on Amazon complaining about the noise being annoying and not very realistic. But in all honesty, if you want a mini piano to be able to produce the kind of sound you'd expect from a big concert piano, you're looking in the wrong place! I actually like the sound. It's a kind of tinkering noise, like bells or chimes. I'd describe it as eclectic rather than annoying...but everyone is different!
This is a video of my daughter playing to give you an idea...
CAN THEY LEARN TO PLAY SONGS ON IT?
With this model, you receive a colour coded strip which you put over the top of the keys. The colours correspond with music in a book called 'Play with Colour' (included). After the first week my daughter could play some bars of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (with a lot of help and convincing!). We've now ended up just letting her go for it until she asks to use the book properly. But yes, I think they could definitely learn to play on it.
WILL IT LAST?
This brand says "from age 3" but we could have given it to her sooner I think. Age 2 - 6 is the perfect age for a toy like this.
We keep the piano in our lounge but there's just one thing more to say about that - it gathers dust and shows up fingerprints easily (because of the high-gloss lacquered finish!).
Be warned if you are a clean freak...
I give this mini grand piano our Five Little Stars.
Ps: if you think your child might like something a little more exciting, check out Kate's review of a drum kit she bought for her toddler. Crazy? Possibly...
*The Amazon link above is a FLS affiliate one, for your shopping convenience.