Monday, March 18, 2013

Hallmark Peanuts Wireless Band Review: Schroeder on Piano

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great sculpt and very fun musical connections
Cons: Slight clicking as Schroeder moves.
The Bottom Line:
Schroeder's piano
Of course they are in the band
Helps start lots of fun

Looking to Start a Peanuts Band?  Schroeder on Piano is a Logical Place to Start

In the comic strip Peanuts, the character most associated with music is Schroeder.  Countless strips revolved around him playing his little piano and his love of Beethoven.  So it was only logical that he was one of the first two releases for Hallmark's 2011 Wireless Peanuts Band.

These pieces featured a different character from the Peanuts comic strips playing a different instrument.  In this case, we've got Schroeder on his piano.  He's the only one of the group who is wearing red pants and a green shirt with a red scarf.  Like everyone else, he's got a Santa hat on his head.  He's actually sitting as his baby, baby, baby grand piano, which means the base of the ornament is a little larger than the rest since those characters are all standing.  It's also the shortest in the series since he is sitting.  The base is painted to look like a hardwood floor.

Each piece of this set plays two songs on their own.  When you press the button near his piano, you'll hear either an upbeat "Deck the Halls" or a slower "Jingle Bells."  Both are short, about 30 seconds each, and both are very heavily jazz inspired.  I wouldn't call the arrangement completely piano, although there are definitely some piano parts to it.

What makes these pieces fun is that they react to each other.  When you have all the pieces on and close enough to each other, starting one will start the others.  They'll all pick up and play the same song.  That means that Schroeder can really play 8 songs, but he just takes the lead on those two.  The pieces all blend together and make some beautiful music together.

Because they are so big, these are not the traditional ornaments you'd expect from Hallmark.  You can't hang them from your tree, and they are so heavy you wouldn't want to.  The bottom is nice and flat, so they display well on a shelf or table or under a tree…basically anywhere you want to put them.

And you can actually spread them out pretty far.  I'm not sure what the range is, but I know that they will respond to each other across the room or even in the next room.  To really hear how they harmonize together, in the same room is definitely best.

My only complaint with this ornament involves the motion.  Schroeder rocks his upper body, including his hands, in time to the music.  When he does, you hear little taps as he reaches one side of the other.  It's noticeable, but actually not too annoying unless you are purposefully listening for it.

I'm so glad I was able to get these decorations before they sold out last year.  While not the best known character in the Peanuts franchise, Schroeder and his piano are the perfect anchor of the Peanuts band.

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