Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teach Kids About Music With Symphony in B

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Both of my boys will be celebrating their birthday next month, so I have been trying to figure out what to get them for a gift.  Then I came across an amazing music toy while browsing Pinterest one day and I just knew that I had to get my hands on one for them.  Trust me, it's a toy that you will want to add to your child's hint list for an upcoming birthday or even Christmas!

Teach kids about music with Symphony in B {review} from And Next Comes L  

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Did I just mention Christmas?  Um, yes I did.  You mean you haven't started your Christmas shopping yet?! Don't worry.  Me neither.  Just consider yourself better prepared after reading this post.

I'd like to introduce you to the Symphony in B by B. Toys.  Please note that B. Toys provided me with this product free of charge, but all opinions expressed below are mine and were not influenced by the free product.

The Symphony in B arrived at my door, mid-preschooler-meltdown and it was a welcome distraction.  I had just pulled it out of the box and J's eyes lit right up.  You'll notice that he's checking it out even though it's still fully covered in plastic.

J checking out the Symphony in B from And Next Comes L

Once opened, the Symphony in B looks like this:

Teach kids about music with Symphony in B {review} from And Next Comes L

The Symphony in B comes with 13 brightly colored instruments, including familiar favorites such as the piano, flute, and drums and some different instruments from around the world such as the sitar and koto.  J's favorite is the purple accordion.  Each instrument is constructed down to the tiniest of details like the buttons on the accordion or the knobs on the end of the guitar.  The name of each instrument is also included on the base.  K tried to assist me in getting a close up of the tuba.  Instead, you'll have to settle with a picture of his sweet little face just beyond the blurry orange blob.

K showing me the tuba from And Next Comes L

Each instrument has a different shaped base, which means the Symphony in B doubles as a shape sorter, as K so kindly demonstrates below.

K checking out the Symphony in B from And Next Comes L

There are many other cool features about the Symphony in B, including:
  • A compartment on the back for storing all the instruments when not in use.  And, believe me, that sliding door has provided a lot of additional enjoyment to my mini maestros!  
  • A handy dandy handle on the bottom to make the toy easier to carry.  
  • The whole toy itself is see through, which means you can see all the neat electronic stuff inside.
  • There are many buttons to delight little button pressers like K.  There are even specific buttons to help your kids learn which instruments make up which instrument family.  For instance, if you press "woodwinds," the light by flute and clarinet light up.
  • A songbook with the lyrics to all 15 different songs is included in the packaging.  So sing along to your heart's content or as long as your children can stand to listen to you sing.  Ha!
  • It uses high quality, professional recordings for the songs.
  • Symphony in B is phthalate-free and BPA-free.  So no icky stuff!
Lots of cool features, right?  Now you're probably wondering how it works.  Well, it's easy peasy!  You get to be the conductor of an orchestra.  You pick up to six different instrument and place them in the orchestra pit area.  Press play.  Then the Symphony in B will play the chosen song using only the instruments that were placed in the orchestra pit.  Anyone up for Beethoven's Fifth Symphony with just a sitar and tuba?!  You haven't lived until you've tried it!

As you can see, choosing the instruments is the hardest part.

K trying to decide which instrument to choose from And Next Comes L

Hmmm...what to choose...what to choose...

K trying to decide which instrument to choose from And Next Comes L

There are so many ways to learn about music with the Symphony in B, which is, of course, why I love it, not only as a parent, but as a piano teacher.  Here are just some of the ways you can learn about music:
  • Explore the concept of tempo by pressing the tempo buttons up or down.
  • Explore the concept of dynamics by pressing the volume control up or down.
  • Press the melody or accompaniment buttons while a song is playing to find out which instruments play which parts.
  • Learn which instruments belong to which instrument family by pressing the different instrument family buttons.
  • Learn the names of the instruments, including how to spell the names.
  • Listen to the individual instruments to discover what they sound like.  Just pop the instrument of choice into the orchestra pit to hear it on its own!
  • Listen to famous classical music pieces including Brahm's Lullaby or Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

You can check out this video below to see how it works.

By now, I'm sure you've picked up on the fact that I love, love, LOVE the Symphony in B.  I want to play with it just as much as my boys do (read that as the suggested age of 3-13 years should be changed to include 29 year old me!).  However, there were only four slight changes I would suggest:
  • The koto instrument piece has a tendency to topple over.  I wish the koto stood more upright to counteract this problem.
  • Allow for more instruments in the orchestra pit.  Six just isn't enough for J.  He always wants to cram as many instruments in there as he can!
  • Make the demo button smaller.  My boys love to press the demo button a lot, often missing out on the point of the toy.
  • The instruments have a tendency to get caught in the storage compartment.  I guess I'd like it to be a bit roomier so that the long, skinny instruments don't get caught.

Teach kids about music with Symphony in B {review} from And Next Comes L

Overall, the Symphony in B surpassed all my expectations.  I knew it was going to be a really cool toy, but it is way better than I could have ever imagined.  I simply adore it.  No wonder it won Toy of the Year.  Furthermore, after reading all the little hilarious tidbits hidden throughout the packaging, I wanted to learn more about the company and their other products.  Their sense of humor in their marketing definitely made me appreciate their company.
"Congratulations!  You read through all of that tiny text?  Your eyes are very good, and your patience is admirable." - on the boring FCC Rules compliance sheet
"Until you find 'toy sunscreen' right next to the 'baby sunscreen,' please keep this toy out of the hot sun.  Symphonies and orchestras really like indoor concert halls anyway." - on the warning label on the back of Symphony in B
That's not all.  When you purchase a B. Toy like Symphony in B, 10 cents is donated to Free the Children.  Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?  And all their packaging is recyclable!

Be sure to stop by the Symphony in B website here.

What do you think?  Would your children love this toy?


  1. We love their products and I literally almost got this toy today! I couldn't make up my mind, so I decided to shop another day. But now I know for the future and I can't wait to pick up this toy. I know my son would LOVE it!

    1. I have never seen any of their products locally, but now that we have two Targets, they might be available. I think that it is definitely worthwhile to get it if you think your son would love it because it is simply fantastic! I'd love to hear what you think of it, if you do get one.

  2. Wowsa, now THAT is a cool toy!

  3. Replies
    1. That's what I said when I first saw it too!