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The Mighty Glockenspiel


Say you are the parent of a music lover. Most children love music and if you have any child a drum or a kazoo and they will makexylophone their own fun. But what is a parent to do when the incessant noise drives you crazy? I have a hard time listening to loud or unpleasant noise for any length of time (I believe I have already mentioned my dislike of toys that make noise). I think those awful plastic xylophones we all had as kids are the worst offenders.

I am guessing plenty of them ended up being “accidentally” run over by the car or left under the couch. Well, if you are worried about stifling your little Mozart’s musical talents just because you can’t bear to listen to another loud clanging and banging awful sounding kid’s instrument I have the answer for you. It is called a glockenspiel.

I don’t mean an orchestral glockenspiel, but a kids one that is smaller and with fewer notes. It is a xylophone tuned to the pentatonic scale, which has no sharps or flats and is missing a couple of notes from the regular scale. I know pretty much nothing about music theory, but I can tell you why this is important. It all sounds good. All the notes on this xylophone sound good together no matter what order they are played in, so even the whacking of a toddler sounds like pretty music. We have a pentatonic glockenspiel and I can attest to it not driving my crazy like the traditional plastic baby xylophone does (well, not anymore since ours is hiding in a closet with some other toys that will be given away at the earliest opportunity).

The nicest pentatonic glockenspiel (I will never tire of saying that!) I found online is the one pictured above from Tree Hollow Toys. We have an even smaller one that we got from our school store. I suggest looking for a Waldorf school near you and seeing if they sell them in their school store (they usually do because their teachers use them in their classes).

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  • a. May 10, 2009, 5:49 pm

    Similarly, we love the lap harp for older kids! I’m sure you’ve seen it in the catalogs. Great entertainment for evenings in the living room, and it doesn’t make any of the adults around here want to scream or throw things. 😉

  • a. May 10, 2009, 5:49 pm

    Oh yeah, Happy Mothers’ Day!

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