Choosing the perfect gift for musicians is not as difficult as some people may think. The problem ensues when you focus too much on what we call the “perfect gift,” which sometimes is more of a fantasy than an attainable reality. If your daughter’s dream of a gift is something along the lines of a vintage Gibson Melody Maker autographed by Joan Jett, you should not assume that she will not appreciate getting some of the items listed below:
Spotify Premium Gift Cards
Anyone who has tried both free and paid versions of Spotify will tell you that there is a marked difference between the two, and premium subscriptions are worth every penny. The Spotify catalog is gradually growing to include rare tracks and unreleased music from independent artists; plus, the algorithm has become sophisticated to the point of identifying if listeners are interested in certain chord structure or specific instrumentation.
In and of itself, the ability to download songs for offline play is a good enough reason to pay for a Spotify subscription, and this is something that you can gift through an electronic card. Most people who give Spotify gift cards choose the $60 amount, which is good for six months, and the activation code can be emailed or sent through social media messaging. Even if the musician in your life already subscribes to Spotify, a gift card will be relished because it provides a nice break from monthly payments.
Another idea along the lines of a Spotify subscription would be gift codes to other digital music streaming services. LiveXLive, formerly known as Slacker Radio, is an enticing alternative to Spotify because its expansive catalog includes recordings from independent and underground musicians across all genres; plus, the overall experience is more akin to being introduced to new music not everyone is familiar with.
Stylophone Portable Synthesizer
In the late 1960s, electronics manufacturer Dubreq introduced a pocket synthesizer that was originally intended to be sold as a toy, but it ended up attracting the interest of legendary musicians who could not resist the idea of engineering tones and sounds with a stylus. Some of the best-known tracks that feature a Stylophone as a main instrument include:
- Space Oddity by David Bowie
- Donkey Rides by the Small Faces
- Style by Orbital
- Pocket Calculator by Kraftwerk
The late David Bowie is the most famous unpaid endorser of the Stylophone, which he always used to carry when traveling. Original versions of the Stylophone were manufactured until 1979, and they became highly sought-after by collectors. In 2007, the son of the Stylophone inventor revived the brand but decided to keep the gorgeous retro styling. These days, you can buy Stylophone models with modern features that do not detract from the original analog synthesizer function that musicians such as Jack White from the White Stripes find irresistible. If you know a musician who is into synthwave, he or she will surely love the Stylophone, which can also be a nice gift for young music students who show interest in composing.
Similar to the Stylophone, this is an unusual instrument that should not be dismissed as a novelty toy. The Aerophone is a digital wind instrument, and it is essentially a preview of the direction musical instruments will be taking in the future. In fact, there is a good chance that the Aerophone will eventually replace the flute recorder in classrooms where early music education is taught.
In essence, the Roland Aerophone lets you play with your breath, but you do not have to blow forcefully such as with the trumpet or trombone. If the musicians in your life are inclined to play reed instruments like the clarinet, the Aerophone will be a nice introduction or even an aide for composers. As befits a modern instrument, this one can be connected to Bluetooth devices such as speakers for a more comprehensive music experience.
Korg Metronome Tuner
Even if the musicians in your life already have combination metronome and tuner devices, they will appreciate having an extra one, particularly the Korg TM60. In addition to the two basic functions of providing the right key and adjustable tempos, this device also features a headphone jack for privacy, a dimming background light, and a connector for musical instruments such as electric guitars.
Michael Giachinno – Travelogue
If you play video games, watch television, or enjoy films, there is a good chance that you have heard the music of Michael Giachinno, an incredibly prolific Italian American composer who has scored music for:
- Medal of Honor (video game franchise)
- Lost (television series)
- Star Wars
- Star Trek
- Mission Impossible
- Jurassic Park
In 2020, Giachinno recorded his very first studio album, Travelogue, which is themed around an alien visiting our planet and sharing her experiences. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrated composer decided that it was time for him to work on a personal project, and it sounds very different from his majestic and adventurous orchestral soundscapes. Travelogue features a story complete with voice-over narration by the extraterrestrial visitor, and the music combines several styles and genres to create something that is completely different and captivating.
iPad or Similar Tablets
The ultimate Swiss Army knife and companion for all musicians is a tablet with solid multimedia features, and it is safe to say that the Apple iPad is one of the best in this regard. The reason the iPad stands above all other tablets is that Apple has always thought or artists and students when developing personal computing devices. From filmmakers to graphic designers and from musicians to recording engineers, those who prefer Apple hardware know that their devices will be able to handle multimedia-rich software applications without hiccups; plus, iPads are known to be very durable, which make them ideal for children and younger musicians.
Even though the iPad Pro is the queen of all tablets and arguable the best for musicians, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a close competitor that is even more durable than any Apple product. The problem with Surface tablets is that the range of software apps for musicians is not as substantial as for iPads. You may get more mileage out of a high-end Samsung tablet because there are more apps for musicians, but the Surface Pro is also a full-fledged computer on its own right. When it comes to apps such as Prodigies Music lessons and bells, the iPad Pro tends to be more appropriate, and it can withstand being handled by toddlers.
Cheap headphones have become Christmas stocking stuffer items over the last decade thanks to the explosion of smartphones as portable media players, but music lovers will never settle for the tinny sound provided by cut-rate earphones. Keep in mind that musicians who play instruments equipped with headphone jacks need to get the best sound possible, and this is not what they will get from the kind of headphones you can buy in quantity for $5 each.
There is no shortage of headphones to choose from in 2021; they range from in-ear to over-the-ear and from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi, but you cannot go wrong gifting musicians or audiophiles with traditional headphones that connect to the source by means of an old-fashioned 3.5mm audio jack. Even though these connectors are being phased out in favor of the latest USB generations, there are still plenty of instruments and devices that support them. Headphones are items that musicians are always losing and misplacing, which means that you cannot go wrong with gifting more than one set; to this effect, a couple of Koss headphones, which are quality-made in the USA, will not put a strain on your wallet, and they will deliver great sound for the price.