superdumb supervillain: Musicolor Theory

Friday, January 15, 2010

Musicolor Theory

One of my favorite toys when I was little was a white plastic close-and-play record player. I had a stack of picture book 45s and top 40 singles. I loved that thing well into junior high and buying my first new wave LPs, so when I saw the Musicolor, a toy that plays music with a stylus like a record player, I thought my kids would love it. They love music, they like to draw, awesome.

Musicolor is pretty cool. You use special markers to color in preprinted music discs. The discs spin as the stylus moves across it, much like an old fashioned record player. The cool thing is that the tone arm "reads" each color as a distinct note. There are discs that are preprinted with fill-in-the-blank style color codes to play specific songs and discs that have blank spots that you color in to make your own music. You can choose three different instruments (piano, horn or violin) for your playback.

The one drawback we found with Musicolor was that my kids simply don't like coloring by the rules. I tried to explain that you had to leave certain spots blank and not to put too many of the same color next to each other, but Roo and Jasper wanted to draw their own pictures and color outside the margins, so to speak. They were initially super excited about Musicolor but then they were ticked when they didn't follow the rules and their songs came out funky. Roo just wanted to draw pictures and see what it did but that method didn't work so well, either.

If your kids are avid coloring book or paint-by-number fanatics, Musicolor would probably be a terrific toy for them. If they bristle at authority and being told where the colors go, they probably won't be so thrilled. I do think that kids who are learning to read music and play an instrument could get a lot out of learning to correspond the pen colors to specific notes but they need to want to learn that sort of thing. Mine didn't have the patience or discipline for it, so our Musicolor is going to charity.

Disclosure: we received the Musicolor to review and give our honest opinion on. I normally don't take the time to write about stuff my kids didn't like but I think this toy is well made and could definitely be a lot of fun- for the right child.

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