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Schoenhut brings Raggs and goes electronic at Toy Fair

Not that Schoenhut Piano Company has soured on the tone that has satisfied customers since the venerable toy piano manufacturer came out with the product back in 1872.

Renee Trinka at Toy Fair 2014.
Renee Trinka at Toy Fair 2014.
Jim Bessman

But it’s developing a new electronic toy piano line, which Renee Trinca, co-owner of Schoenhut with husband Len Trinca, was showing this week at Toy Fair in New York.

“It’s the same configuration as our 25-key tabletop,” says Trinca. “It’s fun for kids, but a musician walked by our display and said it had one of the best electronic piano sounds he’d ever heard.”

Further distinguishing the electronic from the traditional, the new tabletops bear animal artwork.

“So many of our pianos are painted plain red or black,” says Trinca. “But these feature paintings of an alligator, dog, elephant, zebra, ladybug, and bird—though we’re not exactly sure what kind of bird it is!”

There’s also a painting of a princess available on the new electronic models.

Also new this year for Schoenhut is its licensing deal with the Raggs children’s musical TV series.

The agreement brings a Special Edition Raggs Twinkle Tunes piano to the existing Schoenhut Twinkle Tunes lineup of 8-key box pianos featuring an attached music book and CD.

The four hardbound, full-color books each include 12 songs along with instructions according to colors, numbers and notes. The books also provide a complementing activity for each song, with all songs performed on the CDs by The Raggs Band.

The music book titles are Learning Songs, Sing-A-Long Songs, Celebration Songs and Playtime Songs.

“We’re often asked for songbooks to accompany our pianos,” says Trinca, “but until we found Raggs, we had not found the right partner who could present the songs in such a beautiful, creative and easy-to-learn package.”

The “interchangeable songbooks,” notes Trinka, are attached to the top of the box pianos via plastic screws.

“You just screw them out and plunk in a new book!” she marvels.

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