Hello again from Colin Berrido, the independent music teacher based in Bagshot, Surrey, England.
The Christmas Holiday Season is fast approaching – some folks looking forward with anticipation, others with the concern of “what to buy?”.
If you have a musician in the family, particularly a guitarist, ukulele, mandolin or banjo player then I’d thought I’d help out with some suggestions of what to buy them.
So here we go:
- Buy them a New Instrument– this is a great idea but can be tricky from the stand point that I always recommend the player tries out the instrument first, as my previous articles mentioned – no two instrument feel or play quite the same. But, all is not lost – there are a couple of options:
- Buy the instrument from your “local friendly music shop” and ask if they would be prepared to swap out the instrument if it’s not quite right (remember to keep the receipt!).
- Buy a voucher from your music shop so that the gift recipient can go and select the instrument of their choice (plus they can top up the value with money of their own)
- Buy them A Different But Related Instrument – if they currently play the guitar but them a Ukulele (or a mandolin or banjo), as often said – variety is the spice of life!
- Buy them an Electronic Tuner – this is a great low cost “stocking filler” that will really improve a player’s sound.
- Buy them an Electronic Metronome – from my own teaching experiences keeping time does not come easy for some folks so playing along to a metronome can help out big time (once you get over that annoying “tick-tick-tick”!).
- If they play an electric instrument buy them a New Amplifier – this can also be a little tricky but if you apply the same two strategies as buying a New Instrument (that is buy a voucher or arrange a swap-back deal) that way I’m sure you’ll end up with a “happy camper”. I guess I need to put “buying a new amplifier” on my “to do list” for a future article viagra sur ordonnance.
- Buy them some Music Lessons with an experienced and Qualified Teacher. Even a few lessons can help sort out those bad habits and get you back on the straight and narrow. Book early and get the lessons arranged during those “in-between” days between Charismas and the New Year.
- Buy a Tin of Plectrums – they always get lost so you can never get enough of them.
- New Leads – a good lead will significantly improve your sound so is a worthwhile gift. My advice is – don’t buy cheap ones (they can make you sound worse!). Think about buying some short high quality patch leads (for connecting effects pedals) – a lot of musicians buy expensive leads to connect their guitar but then degrade the signal with poor quality patch leads.
- Buy them a pack of New Strings – this could be from a single set to multi-set packs. Strings always wear out and need replacing so it’s a good idea to have some handy to switch in.
- A small Tool Kit is a great gift with say a string winder, string cutters and some polish. A bit of “TLC” on your guitar can give it a new lease of life.
- Ear Plugs are an often neglected item but are a real help towards the long term health of a players hearing – I find they make gigging much more enjoyable and you don’t drive home with muffled “woolly” hearing (not a good thing!).
- Buy them a Recorder – it’s a real benefit to personal development to be able to hear what you sound like. There are lots of good options out there ranging from hand help digital recorders, stand alone recorder/mixers, loop-stations and Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet plus Recording Software Packages.
- There are number of good Music Writing Software programs out there and these are a great help to any musician in capturing their work and improving their skills.
- Purchase a good quality Music Stand – apart from being an essential piece of kit for any musician it helps with minimising repetitive strain injuries (RSI) by improving your posture whilst practising (now that’s got to be good and cheaper than a series of visits to a chiropractor).
- A good Music Book – either a Music/Tab book or a book on their favourite instrument can be a good read over the holidays.
- A couple of Blank Music Notation or Tab Books along with some pencils (with erasers) make a good present.
- Think about buying them a sturdy Piano Or Guitar Tool for their practice room.
- Some Music Related Clothing – there are lots of tee-shirts, base ball caps and jacks out there that a fashionable and fun.
- Think out of the box! Make them a sound proofed rehearsal room. Maybe you can convert the garage, cellar or loft area. A mature student of mine has done just this so that he and his wife (who is a fine drummer) can rehearse together – no more having to load the car up with “tons” of kit and hiring a rehearsal room.
- Buy them some time at a Rehearsal Room or Recording Studio – it’s nice to be able to turn up and make your amp sing or have a keep-sake of your work
Well these were my first 20 thoughts but I’m sure you can come up with more ideas. Have fun hunting down great presents for the musician in your life.