Here’s a gift guide for String Players – something for everyone… from very inexpensive to a ‘major’ gift:
*Musical gifts. There are LOTS of musical gifts out there – earrings, pillows, bags, scarves, mugs, games, stickers, “I Love Cello” pens, music note flip flop shoes, cool case straps, beautiful violin blankets for your case, music bracelets, and so much more. Here are some places to check around: www.sharmusic.com (click on the “Gifts” tab),www.friendshiphouse.com, www.cafepress.com (search ‘music gifts’), www.themusicdepot.com – and so much more. How about colorful rosin? Check out www.magicrosin.com – this is a GREAT stocking stuffer!
*A new bow. If you already own your instrument and you have a full sized instrument, maybe you purchased your instrument as a package deal – instrument, case and bow. Most professional musicians have at least 2 bows in their cases – 1 for ‘gigs’, 1 for more serious practicing and playing. There are 2 kind of ‘new bows’ to consider… 1) Better and 2) Fun. A “Better” bow might be something that upgrades you from what you already have. I really like carbon fiber Coda Bows. These bows can often be used up into high school and college years. In fact, my husband and I regularly play on our professional level carbon fiber Coda Bows for professional purposes. The Coda Bow Prodigy violin bow is only $283.50 at Shar Music and gives a young player a stability and professional feel that a less expensive bow simply can’t provide. A “Fun” bow is getting a colored hair or colored stick bow – some of our Primo students have these. These bows sometimes aren’t ‘great’ quality bows, but they certainly are fun to play with. Southwest Strings has the Glasser Fiberglass bow with colored stick and hair starting around $70 for a violin bow.
*A great music stand. Every student can benefit from a really good music stand. I know that as a kid I played off a rickety wire stand until in high school my mom picked me up a sturdy Manhasset stand. A professional level black Manhasset stand can run you up to $50 on Amazon, but you can get something like it for less. Try the Gearlux Deluxe Collapsible Orchestra Music Stand for only $29.99 on Amazon. Or, you could stay with the folding stand, but get a brightly colored music stand – check out the Rainbow Music Stand at www.amazon.com. Or, here is online info for a sturdy Manhasset stand: Manhasset. Many ‘gigging’ musicians are buying this very well constructed fold-up-able stand The Peak for about $35
*Fun music. I used to practice violin in the living room by the piano and there was a stack of music that I also had that was my ‘fun music’ stack. Fiddle tunes, Disney tunes, concertos that my teacher wouldn’t let me play, rock music. Consider either a gift certificate at your local music store (they *ALL* have lots of music well stocked at this time of year) or shop a little bit on www.sharmusic.com or www.sheetmusicplus.com to find music that’s fun to play. If you need suggestions, ask your teacher or me for recommendations. Local to Aurora, IL – check PM Music and Quinlan & Fabish – they will have lots of holiday and fun music for students at all levels.
*The big gift – a new instrument. If you are looking into getting a new instrument, work with your private instructor to make sure that you get an instrument that really fits the student – not just something you find that’s a good deal. You can look online or at your local music store. If you have done a rent-to-own purchase of your instrument, check back with the local music store you worked through – many stores honor a 50%-100% trade-in value. Shopping online can be productive too, but, be ware of really cheap offerings (like colored violins for $50) – these instruments look so cool, but might not play well at all and could end up just frustrating the player. Some good online sites included www.sharmusic.com, www.swstrings.com, and www.stringworks.com. If you have *any* questions about something you find online and want me to check it out, please email me. I used to be in the music industry (I worked for Yamaha Corporation of America and Knilling Stringed Instruments) and give you some advice about what I can tell about instruments you might find online.
*Go Electric? Already have a decent full sized instrument? Ready for some fun in your life? How about an electric instrument!!! But, be aware – don’t just buy a really cheap electric instrument off eBay or Amazon. Purchase something that will work well and purchase it from someone who knows a lot about electrics. My favorite resource is the folks at The Electric Violin Shop in North Carolina – www.electricviolinshop.com – they know their instruments and you can call them up, give them a playing level and budget, and they’ll make sure you get something really cool! Instrument, chords, sound effects processor, amp. Super fun! Not inexpensive, but definitely fun!