on November 23, 2010
This came in the mail today for my 2.5 year old's Christmas present, and I can't stop playing with it (while he is napping). We ordered it through Amazon for $24.99, and it was fulfilled through Target. The age right on the front states 2 - 6 years old, so the reviews talking about this 'not being a stepping stone to a real piano' and 'not being able to play chords, or 2 notes at once' is ridiculous. This is not meant to be a 'starter' keyboard for someone who wants to play piano. It is a giant cat face, for goodness sakes! It is super cute, very durable, and it is hilarious to play with. It has like 20 songs that kids can sing along to, you can change the type of music (blues, samba, rock, etc) and use the tempo keys to slow or make faster. The microphone pulls out, and then there is a button to make it retract. It has simple buttons that my 2 year old will figure out very easily - they are large and clear (play, record, volume with arrows, the button for the music to play, etc), all very big buttons with clear symbols. So if you are looking for something that you can play chords, or adult piano songs, or introduce your child to the piano, then find something that is not shaped like a giant cat with keys for teeth. If you want something fun that your young child can play and experiment with music and sound, and also has the added 'meow' feature that turns all your songs into cute 'meowing' songs, then this is definitely what you are looking for.
Update 8/29/2011...nearly a year later, and my kids both still play with this almost every day. I admit, the songs with the girl singing are obnoxious to me (the kids don't mind), so I try to direct them to using the songs-with-music-only button. They love to sing and talk into the microphone a lot too. It has been dropped, thrown, stepped on, thrown down stairs and jumped on, and it still works great, with only a few battery changes needed so far too.
on January 18, 2011
My 21-month old daughter received this for Christmas from her grandmother but because she had so many other presents, we saved it to give her this weekend when her grandparents visited. She immediately figured out the two buttons that play pre-recorded music (instrumental songs and "witty kitty" songs) and the drum beat buttons (different rhythms). She is delighted - really, that's not an exaggeration - by the songs and the drum rhythms; she grins, laughs, and dances to them. The "witty kitty" songs annoy me a little but she likes them, and that's the point. I'm a little worried she'll learn the "wrong" words to the "witty kitty" songs (they are kitty-oriented lyrics set to familiar tunes, like "Meow, Meow, said the cat" to "Row, Row, Row your boat") but I'm not going to lose sleep over it; I can teach her the "right" words later. She plays the keyboard a little but seems mostly interested in the recorded songs. We have a real piano that she's played around with since she was a baby, so I'm not concerned about how much she uses this toy keyboard.
The toy seems extremely durable; she's already slid it down the basement stairs and it's fine. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I wish it recorded voice input into the microphone; it only records/plays back keyboard input. My daughter doesn't watch TV yet, and this keyboard is the closest thing she has yet to an "electronic babysitter" - she loves it so much that she plays independently with it, and it occupies her attention more than any of her other toys, leaving me more free to accomplish tasks. This is a good thing.
Speaking of the keyboard - I'm a classically trained pianist, and I am actually impressed by this keyboard. All the keys, including the black keys, work. I've seen many toy keyboards that have non-working black keys. The notes are labeled with the letter note names (A, B, C, etc) and the pitches are correct. Only two notes will sound at once, so you can't play chords, but as others have pointed out, this is a TOY KEYBOARD. Many toy keyboards only play one note at a time! This is an aside but an important one - as a musician, I seriously recommend to all parents that if you really want to get your young child used to a piano, GET A REAL PIANO. If you can't afford an actual piano or don't have room for it, get a good digital piano with correctly weighted keys that respond to touch/expression; there are many good ones out there. Let your kid crawl onto the bench and play around with it. Sit the child on your lap while you play piano. Bear in mind that your baby or toddler might bang an object against the keys (my daughter chipped the end of one of my piano keys this way, but it's an old Baldwin Acrosonic upright that plays well but doesn't have much value), so you may not want to give him/her free access to your Steinway grand. If you get a used piano, have a tuner check it out first, and beware of the out-of-tune piano that your church is selling out of its church hall/basement; it may cost you more to get into shape than it's worth. If you get a "real" (non-digital) piano, please keep it tuned so your child develops an ear for correct pitches. And start your child on lessons by age 6 (preferably age 5) when children are still in the "language window"; music is a language.
As a final note, I am impressed that this keyboard comes with a booklet with the words to all the songs it plays. These are not just children's songs - some are wonderful songs like Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer". One is an Italian song, with Italian words printed in the booklet. So there is an opportunity for your child to learn some good music - don't lose the booklet!
Oh, and our Meowsic keyboard was purchased at Target. I don't remember the purchase price, but I know it wasn't as high as $50.00!
on March 6, 2013
I was drawn to how terrifying this thing looked for quite a while, and after my son showed an obsession for messing with his father's musical instruments, and (inexplicably in our house) cats, I picked it up on sale.
It's durable, doesn't burn through batteries, and pretty basic. He has a lot of fun with it, which is great.
A downside is that the "record" option merely records the signal of the notes you press, not the actual tempo you are hitting them, nor any vocals you do with the attached mic. Just a heads up so no one is disappointed.
The biggest drawback I can find is the kitty-centric songs it plays when you hit the cat button. My son found that and the slow tempo button simultaneously, so every morning I am now awakened to what sounds like Satan crying about his lost cat named Applebee. Over and over. And over.
on December 2, 2011
My daughter received this piano as a gift when she was 8 months old. Immediately, she loved the music and all the fun features on it. She would sit and entertain herself for what seemed like hours with this thing. Yes, the music gets annoying, but isn't it worth it when your kid loves it?!
On another note, the company that makes this piano has excellent customer service. Our cat piano just stopped working one day for no reason, so I emailed customer service and had a response the next day. They sent me a replacement piano at no additional cost. I'm sorry, but you just can't beat that!
on June 8, 2010
My 2-year-old daughter LOVES her "cat piano" and plays it every day. It has a lot of features she hasn't even used yet, so I think she will continue to play with it as she gets older. The only downsides are that the pre-recorded cat songs are extremely annoying, and it only lets you play two notes at a time when you use the keyboard. But for a first keyboard, I think it's very good.
I can't figure out if there is any real difference between this and the "Parents" Kitty Keyboard, other than color and price. This one is significantly cheaper - and in colors more like an actual cat. I recommend this one.
on February 16, 2014
It is a great little keyboard but it can be VERY annoying at the hands of a toddler who deliberately or accidentally presses multiple buttons at once. That plus the voice and lyrics of the kitty songs detracted from the overall good features. I realized I would either have to limit access to this keyboard or find a way to modify it's features. Turns out that turning off some of the keyboard's "features" is easy to do and requires only 30-60 minutes, a medium phillips screwdriver, a small phillips screwdriver, and some very small stick on foam dots intended for deadening the sound of cabinet doors (approximately 1/4" - 1/3" in diameter). I chose to turn off these buttons: 1) the Kitty Songs, 2) the preset percussion buttons, and 3) the Volume increase. The keyboard, buttons for instruments, pre-recorded tunes, and record/playback, and the microphone remain functional.
Here's how to do it: Unscrew the 23 medium screws on the back of the keyboard (if you have a power driver, you will save many minutes of time). Because of it's shape, the keyboard tends to slide around while you're trying to unscrew, so secure it by placing it on a silicone mat (I used three silicone hot pads). Once the 23 screws have been removed, open and set aside the back, being careful not to break any wires.
Behind every button on the front of the Meowsic is a small silicone button that controls it's use, mounted to a circuit board that is held in place by tiny phillips screws. Depressing the button on the front of the Meowsic causes the silicone button behind it to make contact with the circuit board, turning that feature "on".
Figure out which feature you want to disable, unscrew that circuit board, remove the silicone button and replace it with a foam stick-on "dot". You can save the silicone buttons by mounting them on the BACK side of the circuit boards in the event you decide to turn those features back on at a later date. It's important to put the foam dots in place of the silicone buttons so that the plastic buttons on the front of the Meowsic do not dislodge or become loose.
Hope this helps!
on May 8, 2014
This toy used to be great in its previous version with a green and purple color scheme. We got one in 2008 and it lasted more than 4 years while taking quite a bit of abuse from an enthusiastic toddler. We bought a new one - with the orange color scheme - in 2013, and had to replace it after less than two weeks of light use because the keys and sounds started failing. The replacement didn't last more than two or three weeks, followed by another replacement just as short lived. We have now tested 5 of the orange keyboards with the exact same results - the mechanism fails after a short period of use, no matter how gentle you are with it. Something was changed in the way this toy was designed or manufactured between 2008 and 2013, and it is now worthless. It's really quite sad because it used to be an awesome, fun and interactive toy.
on December 31, 2014
I first saw this in a barnes and noble about 5 years ago. Someone came up to me and brought me to it- and then showed me that it plays MEOWS.
I was haunted by it, always wanting it but never being able to spend $40 on a toy for kids.
But I had, without any restraint, was okay with buying a $50 otamatone instrument so I said screw it and bought my cat piano.
I FREAKING LOVE IT. I can be a sweet cat dj now. The mic is great for beatboxing or rapping, but I wouldnt try singing into it unless you like sounding like a transformer going through puberty. (youtube search dj cat-orza if you want to see the gorgeousness of this piano- the video isnt me sorry)
I'm going to start the worlds worst indie band now.
But idk I also just smashy buttons and have been trying to play a combination of Simon and Garfunkle and Zelda songs only being sung by computer cats...
If your little one responds enthusiastically to to music, then you definitely want to consider purchasing the B. Meowsic Keyboard. I purchased this in 2010 for our 14-month old grandson's Christmas. Once the toy was turned on, our grandson was hooked. He often spent as long as an hour playing with the various options the keyboard offers.
If the large yellow button on B. Meowsic's left cheek is pushed, the toy plays one of 20 familiar children's songs. They are ones you will probably remember the words to - B-I-N-G-O, Hokey-Pokey, The Farmer in the Dell, etc. and you will be able to sing along much to your child's delight. If you don't remember the words, there is a booklet which contains the words to each song included with the toy. Further, the toy allows one to push any one of five buttons on the left paw; the songs then sound as if bells, the banjo, or one of the two other instruments are playing. The fifth button is a cat's meow and adds nothing musical to the song, but does add an annoying - to adults - meow accompaniment to the song. The annoying cat theme is carried further if one pushed the orange cat's face on the keyboard's right cheek; this results in a cat singing one of seven kitty-themed songs set to familiar tunes. Beware, you may find yourself infected with an "ear worm" as a result. Fortunately, B. Meowsic's blue nose s a "stop" button which immediately squelches the song... Keys on the right paw create different musical rhythms when pressed; the ice cream cone is a microphone which actually works!
One of the things I liked best about B. Meowsic was the fact that the keyboard contained two full octaves - and, that the sharp/flat keys actually worked. The keyboard is small enough and the touch delicate enough so that younger fingers can easily "play" music. Additionally, one can play chords on this toy which adds another dimension to the child's musical exploration.
B. Meowsic is a sturdy toy. Our 14 month old grandson weighs 25 pounds and repeatedly walked across the keyboard as he played with it. He also attempted to carry it several times, and because it is a rather large toy,he sometimes dropped it. B. Meowsic continued to perform without any problem. Finally, this toy goes into a sleep mode if it is left on, but is not being played with - this does help save on batteries.
In closing, if you are looking for a toy that is fun, has educational value, and is sturdy - you should consider B. Meowsic. It can be used easily and enjoyed by children who are younger than the age suggested as appropriate. You won't regret making the purchase and your little one will be captivated!
DECEMBER 2011 UPDATE: This is one of the best toy investments available. Even after a year, our grandson plays with B. Meowsic regularly and enthusiastically. It has helped him understand that playing a keyboard does not require banging with a fist or both hands. He treats B. Meowsic like he does the big piano, playing with one finger touch. We love it - and you will, too!
on November 30, 2014
Amazing! It's the kids favorite B toy! My 10 month old dances to songs and beats on the keys with such joy! He did drool in the mike ... Had it all the way in his mouse so it dosent work now lol but they never really used that part any way! We love this