Gifts for the Classical Musician 2017
The gift-giving season is upon us with and you’re probably seeing lots of suggestions for your holiday gifting. What should you get for that special classical musician in your life? You can always find cute and humorous items such as musical themed clothing and jewelry, along with books, and CD’s, but below are ten suggestions from a musician on gifts ideas that they really want. Some are tongue-in-check, but some can be personalized, and all say, “I support you and your musical art.”
1) Practical equipment—Most of us always can use a few items that we’re either too busy with rehearsals or performances to purchase or broke to afford ourselves. Try a stand light for an orchestral musician or maybe a pitch pipe or a professional grade folder for your favorite chorister. String players always need rosin and replacement strings and woodwind players reeds (although most are picky so check first). Consider replacing that beat up old instrument case with something lighter and more portable or a cart to help transport their gear. A stereo recorder allows them to record lessons and rehearsals for playback later.
2) Air Turn pedal for hands free turning with a tablet. This has become one of my absolute favorite tech tools and has been a game-changer. There are many apps (such as ForScore and MusicNotes) that support pdfs that can be scanned in or imported directly, eliminating the need to lug around heavy volumes of music. Apple’s iPad Pro comes in a letter-sized 8” X 11” that is the same size as standard sheet music as does Samsung Galaxy Note Pro and allow for writing and editing directly on the scores.
3) Clothing—Classical musicians wear a lot of shades of black, black, and more black. Floor length skirts and pants for women with long-sleeved tops, either all-black for men or tuxedos. Most of wear the same sad tired variations of our outfit or two, so treat your musician to a new black outfit.
4) Sheet music—Musicians are always accruing new scores, which aren’t cheap. Treat them to full scores of their favorite large works or something fun such as libretto from recent Broadway hits. Since music organizations are picky about which editions are used, try a gift certificate from SheetMusicPlus if you’re unsure of what they might like.
5) Membership to Spotify. For the price of a CD, $9.99 a month, you can have access to literally millions of songs/works with no ads and the ability to download them to any device and share playlists even when offline. It is indispensable to use for practice and comparing different artistic styles Plus you are supporting the musicians who created the music.
6) Frame a memorable concert poster that they were involved in or the program to a special recital or a composition that they composed. Just make sure to have it professionally mounted and framed with non-glare glass with UV filters so it will last without fading or wrinkling. A picture of them with a beloved group or at a favorite concert is also a great idea. One of the ultimate personal gifts you can gift, it will serve as inspiration in their studio or practice room.
7) Spa gift certificate—After a busy December playing umpteenth concert after concert, treat your musician to a gift certificate for a massage, man-pedi or some other pampering treatment.
8) Concert tickets: Many classical musicians go to a surprisingly few concerts because they are often rehearsing or performing while other events take place. Classical music careers are notoriously non-lucrative (see #1 above) so tickets to high-price events such as the opera or good seats symphony concert are frequently unaffordable. So, gift your favorite singer to an opera performance or a choral concert or a pianist to a recital. Take a string player to a chamber concert, or your favorite young music student to one of the many local youth musical performances. Can’t decide which to see or what will work for their schedule? Most organizations offer gift certificates and with hundreds of performances a year, you can’t go wrong with the Overture Center.
9) Tickets to see THEM perform. Want to flatter your favorite classical musician? Attend one of their performances. Even seasoned pros still love it with friends and family attend their concerts (although they may not admit it).
10) Donate to their musician organization. Musical organizations such as orchestras and choirs need money to pay their conductors, accompanists, music, rehearsal and performance space, etc... Ticket prices only cover part of those costs, and even with outside grant funding, most require generous donors to maintain their existence. So, if you really want to flatter your classical musician, support their passion by making a donation to their organization. This truly is a gift that will keep on giving.
Fellow musicians, what do you think? What do YOU want for Christmas?