What’s the very first song that you can remember hearing as a child? I recall looking at the tape sprockets hypnotically spinning inside the family stereo, the reels clicking and whirring as the transport mechanism spun through my mother’s record collection. There was something deeply ritual about the sound’s physicality, how it filled the room and relied on your attention and intervention, as you pressed the eject button to flip over the tape.
But nostalgia aside, let’s face it: the world is changing at a dizzying pace, as is the way we experience music. Technological advances have impacted the type of music artists create, how listeners consume it and how we learn to play instruments. When it comes to raising children, how can diehard musicophiles alphabetize them towards our passions without losing ourselves in the process?
Luckily for those willing to embrace the long-standing art of compromise between analog and digital, in 2012 Ocarina Music Player created a unique tool for the whole family to enjoy. Florence has once more placed itself on the map of innovation with this unique 100 percent Italian MP3 music player designed especially for children.
“Ocarina is the result of a long study that applies the Montessori teaching approach to a contemporary device,” Florence born-and-bred founder Gianluca Giannini explains. “Ocarina follows the guidelines issued by institutional pediatric associations while combining the tradition of Italian design with ergonomics for children. In 2017, Ocarina had the honor of being included in the international exhibition dedicated to the history of toy design within the Milan Triennale.”
Covered with toxic-free food-grade rubber, with a built-in speaker, ergonomic handle and rechargeable battery, it is suitable for all ages. Ocarina respects the contemplative nature of children, stimulating them on a perceptual and cognitive level without additional visual and auditory stress.
“We collaborate with important national and international institutions that have chosen to use Ocarina in various fields of application,” Giannini continues. “The Guggenheim in Venice and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris use Ocarina for educational activities. The recreational therapy center Dynamo Camp uses them for workshops as well as to alleviate children suffering from serious illnesses. The Robert Debré children’s hospital in Paris and the Les Fées prema en PACA association use Ocarina to support the development of premature babies.”
With its 8GB memory and 75dBA maximum volume—specifically conceived to safeguard the delicate eardrums of infants—this fascinating and colorful gizmo holds more than 1,000 tracks, as well as 100 minutes of live recording that you can use creatively, which allows to keep the storytelling component alive. Your voice can lull your children to sleep or comfort them when needed.
Sure, it’s not the cassette, CD or vinyl record we grew up with, but it’s a gateway to learning the value of high-quality sound and getting a kick out of what will soon be revealed as one of the most enthralling individual pastimes of all time. As long as your children can remember their first song, you’re set for life.