2018 Music Gift Guide

There are some great musical gift deals to be found online.  At the very least, the internet offers parents places to get ideas for the ‘gifts of music’ and then compare the items prices and shipping costs on other sites or to local music retailers. If they match an online price, you may save shipping (but pay taxes).

Any products mentioned have links to the retailers’ site embedded right into the post. (Click on the underlined words). In most cases we’ve found the best price, but if you have something in mind, feel free to search for the best deal yourself through the many sites listed at the bottom.

Most online retailers have Holiday Specials this month on a variety of entry level instruments and useful accessories. Here’s a few companies we’ve used: Musicians Friend; Music and Arts; Woodwind Brasswind.andWest Music. If you want to avoid online shopping, a visit to Music and Arts in Needham Heights for quick gift items would be worth the trip.

FOR VOCALISTS

Many singers find keyboards and guitars to be great accompaniments for their voice.  Check out some recommendations made below in the music class section.

There are a variety of music books with accompaniment CD’s making it easier than ever for vocalists and instrumentalists to learn songs on their own.   For singers there are great sets of vocal songbooks. These books are available in different styles and voice parts and come with a CD with 2 versions of each song – a practice track, and then just accompaniment.  Amazon has the biggest variety. Scroll down to see all the different books in the series.  Perfect for practice and home concerts! You can price compare any of these products through Amazon and other online retailers.

There’s also the Hal Leonard series of Pro Vocal Song Books including books from Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and others.  These come with sing-along CD’s.  For a full listing of the Hal Leonard vocal books, visit their site and click on Browse by Category. Scroll down to see books by other artists.

FOR INSTRUMENTAL STUDENTS

Most companies with retailer links on our website offer inexpensive Stocking Stuffers this time of year.  Any band student would benefit from a Korg Tuner, Clip On Tuner,  or Metronome. We also recommend a cleaning kit to ensure a sanitary musical experience. Woodwind & Brasswind has a great deal on a sturdy but folding music stand for $19.99. This is a major step up from the folding stands that most students get in elementary school, but at a great price.

For woodwind players, you can find good deals at Interstate Music’s Band & Orchestra accessories and cleaning supplies in Woodwind/Brasswind’s woodwind instrument category.  Our favorite cheap gifts include an instrument Polishing Mitt, Silk Swabs to dry out instruments, padded sax neckstraps, a Yamaha metronome, new reeds (we recommend Vandoren, whatever size they use now –(2 1/2 or 3), and thumb cushionsfor clarinet and sax.

Useful stocking stuffers for Brass players include a cleaning kit – linked above, a bottle of valve oil (Al Cass or Blue Juice are our favorite), a trumpet or trombone straight mute (quieter practicing), or a brass BERP mouthpiece practice tool.  Many middle school brass players may consider moving up to a larger mouthpiece.  Typically, trumpet players would go from the size 7C they started on to a 3C.  Trombones may want to move to the larger 5G size mouthpiece (a favorite of Mr. B.).  The most reliable and affordable mouthpiece brand is JS Bach.  You can find a variety of their mouthpieces by clicking here.

For the drummers among us, there are Percussion categories on most sites with gifts just for drummers. New drum sticks (size 2B or 5A) are always a reasonable gift, with most sites offerings holiday deals. Of course for most drummers, a drum set is always on their radar screen.  Since these are quite expensive (cymbals are extra) and loud, a good starting point may be a Digital Drum Pad, or Kit. It has several pads, built in sounds to play along with, and can be used with headphones or plugged into an amp. This multi-pad Alesis model is a great price for this type of pad. There are also countless stick bags starting at $9.99.

MUSIC CLASS INSTRUMENTS

For students in our middle school music classes, parents may want to follow up their keyboard and guitar lessons in class with a starter instrument for home. Musician’s Friend offers the largest selection of keyboards and guitars that we’ve found, and has MANY deals for the holidays.  They carry the Yamaha PSR-E263, for $99.99, the lowest we’ve seen. Throw in free shipping and it’s a great deal. We recommend adding the Yamaha Keyboard Survival Kit that includes plugs, pedals, and lesson CD’s.

For even younger children, Anything that allows them to join in to the beat would be fun.

Musician’s Friend also has a variety of reasonable Guitar packages.  For acoustic guitars, this Ibanez Guitar Pack for $129.99. includes a bag, strap, picks and tuner. This is for the ‘righty’ package.  Lefty guitars are always more expensive. Music and Arts offers a reasonably priced Fender starter guitar with gig bag. We started buying this exact model for DHS music classes. For electric guitar kits, these Special Value packages come with an amp, strap, chords, picks, and includes free shipping.  Very reputable brands, comfortable design, and includes everything you’d need for years to come for a good price.

For those interested in mixing and scratching (future DJ’s out there), the Numark Party Mix DJ controller allows instant remixing on the fly.  This is the cheapest price we’ve seen for this particular model.

INSTRUMENTAL SHEET MUSIC

For band students, the amount and variety of music available for solo practice or performance is amazing.  Many books come with CD to play along with a backing band.  Hal Leonard is also the biggest publisher of these types of books.  This page is a sample of Pop-style books for Trumpet (some with CD, others without).  Click on the top to choose your  particular instrument and musical style.  If one looks good, it can be purchased right from Hal Leonard on this site, or you could write down the info and do a full web search for the cheapest price. You can buy digital sheet music to load right onto your tablet at Sheet Music Direct. Store it in iBooks and you can have build a paperless music library.

APPS

There are countless Music Apps available for smart phones and tablets. GarageBand from Apple is cool on iPhone or iPad.  There are also tuners, metronomes, rhythm practice apps, and digital instruments. Many are free (we use insTuner in DHS music classes) with the better  costing in the 99¢ to $2.99 range.  Apple’s GarageBand is $4.99 but allows for complete music production and recording live audio with an interface. Some of the coolest accessories allow students to run a guitar, keyboard, or mic right into their tablet or phone. These are by iRig or this one for Android. This plug-in microphone offers high-end audio direct into any iPad or iPhone. A Bluetooth speaker allows anyone with a smart phone or tablet the chance to pump up the jams anywhere.

GENERAL GIFTS

Friendship House has a great collection of musical novelty items and gifts, as does a company we stumbled upon recently, Music Treasure Co.

Here are links to retailers listed above, and a few others with worthwhile Holiday Deals:

Amazon of course – for anything.

Hal Leonard Music Publishers

Cascio Interstate Music

Music and Arts

Mouthpiece Express

Music 123

Musician’s Friend

Pepper Music(sheet music, books)

Sheet Music Direct

Sweetwater Music

Woodwind Brasswind

Hope this helps.  If there are any other great ideas, big or small, leave a comment under this post. We’ll be happy to add it.

Happy Holidays,

DPS Music Faculty