With just a handful of days left before Christmas, many people are freaking out about buying gifts. This can be even more stressful if you have a friend, family, or significant other, who is a musician. Throughout my life I’ve found that non-musician get stressed and just don’t know what to get us musicians, especially if they are not fans of our music or just not very knowledgeable about our craft. I have heard “I just don’t know what to get you” more times than I can count so I thought I’d give some advice for people with musicians on their Christmas list.
The Little Things That Matter
I will start with some of the cheaper gifts you can buy a musician that they will greatly appreciate. First on the list is CD’s. Yes CD’s. Remember we have a passion for music beyond the average consumer so most of us are fans of physical media. You can exchange CD’s for Vinyl, but that can be a bit pricier depending on the album. Most towns still have used record stores so I recommend asking people around and doing a quick google search for a used CD store near you. Used CD”s will be greatly appreciated by the musicians on your list and for 20-30 dollars you can get a nice handful of CD’s. Most of these stores are more than happy to help so as long as you know the genre and artists they like, I’m sure they can give you some good recommendations.
Staff paper is something most musicians (especially jazz, classical, and those studying music in school) need. You can go to local store and buy spiral bound staff paper or even get it off of Amazon. It’s very cheap and essential for almost any musician. Add a couple high quality pencils and you are solid.
Another great cheap option is a poster. Musicians and art go hand in hand so maybe get them a poster of one of their favorite musicians, or even a poster of their favorite album. You can go the extra mile and maybe get them a signed vinyl, a special edition release of their favorite album, but that might become a pricier gift.
A Little More Cash To Spare
A Magazine subscriptions would be a great gift options. Jazzers like Downbeat, Hip hop heads like The Source, and Spin Magazine has pop music and everything in between. This gift is relatively cheap and keeps on giving year round.
Electronics can be pricey, but if you shop around some Sennheiser headphones are under 50 dollars and sound great. Other small things giging musicians need include aux chords and power surgers. Knowing the musician you are buying for makes these decisions easier of course, but for the most part any musician will need all of these things and more. Stop by your local music store and check out the chains like Sam Ash and Guitar Center for assistance on these electronics.
Concerts are a must for just about every musician. We love to hear live music, support our community, and even hear some of the bigger acts. So a concert is typically an enjoyable gift for any musician. This can of course vary in price, local acts can range from free to 30 dollars while bigger acts can go as high as a scalper can charge. Still, this can be a great gift and one both of you can potentially enjoy. Computer programs are another pricier gift most musicians would love. Maybe they need a Music writing software program like Finale or Sibellius. Most jazz and classical musicians do need this software or something like it and buying it as a gift would not only be a very generous present, but a huge help. Finally audio devices can be a great big ticket item. Some Sonos speakers, amps, or a Zoom recorder would make great gifts if you are a big spender
Know Your Audience
Obviously the more you know about your musician the easier shopping for them can be. This can be difficult if your knowledge about their passion is foreign to you. Still, with a little investigating, I’m sure you can find the perfect gift. Check their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Maybe they’ve mentioned something they sorely want or need. Or at the very least, expressed an interest in a certain artist or genre they want to hear more from. Don’t be shy and ask at the stores you shop at and tell them the kind of musician you are shopping for. I’m sure most places will be happy to help you out. They deal with this issue on a daily basis and can help you find the perfect gift.