Happy Friday! This weekend is the last sane weekend before the HOLIDAYS begin, isn’t it? I’m in Boston, battling snow and cold (and writing Xmas cards). Tomorrow I am going to see my former teacher perform the Elgar Concerto in Providence, and on Sunday I am playing a trio concert with some good friends. It’s been a great week of teaching, rehearsing, playing concerts and seeing tons of friends, but I’m excited to get back to some warm weather next week! Here is the first Gift Guide of the season–just in time for next week’s Black Friday sales! So start planning ahead! This one is for the musician in your life-whether they are a serious student or a professional, here are all of the things that make our lives easier (and nary a treble clef earring in sight!!)
2. This mug warmer! There is nothing like knowing that you can keep practicing as long as you need to without worrying that your coffee/tea/hot chocolate is getting cold. (priorities, people!). I have two. They are genius.
3. Hand warmers! for before concerts, auditions, when you’re walking from the car into a lesson in the winter. We can’t play well when our fingers are cold, and they make great stocking stuffers!
4. This travel steamer. I got this one before I went to Seattle, and it was perfect. Compact and easy to pack, but really got the job done to take wrinkles out of concert attire quickly and easily.
5. a beautiful coffee mug. There is something about being a musician and loving coffee and loving beautiful things. So a beautiful coffee vessel is always a winner.
6. Some books: This one I cannot recommend highly enough. If you have a musician in your life that has not read/done this book, be their hero and get it for them. I talked more about it in my last post about creative breakthroughs. Or if fiction is more their thing, this one about a concert pianist on the road is like reading a recurring nightmare that we have all had. And for some practical career advice, this one is a must-read.
7. Leatherwood Rosin is #stringplayergoals. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but their bespoke rosin “recipes” are pretty dreamy.
8. Organizing all of the different aspects of a musician’s life can be difficult. Keeping teaching hours from rehearsal hours to practice time to life admin time. It took me a LONG time to find a day planner that reflected how my “crazy musician’s life” worked. Ink & Volt makes them, and they come in a variety of colors and options.
9. I was looking to borrow a stand light for a recent concert and when I asked a bunch of my colleagues in Boston, Not one person had a working one! So, if you have a Boston musician in your life, chances are, they would be happy to receive one of these!
10. Last but not least, and there is no link here, because it will depend on your location, but I do not know a single musician who, right now, at this very moment, is not thinking “oh man, I need a massage!“. You know how professional athletes use and abuse their bodies on a daily basis, so their teams/coaches etc. supply regular massage therapists to work on them so that they can be at their best when they perform? Yeah, we don’t get those (though we DO use and abuse our bodies on a daily basis, and we ALSO need to be at our best when we perform!) So, low-hanging fruit? maybe, but still always a winner.
Fellow musicians, what would you add? Let me know in the comments!