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As Christmas approaches

We are on the last rush before the holidays. House are decorated, radio plays Christmas music, kids are getting excited and people communicate their wishlist to loved ones.  I’ll chip in  a few ideas for potential letters to Santa Claus.

First off, if you happen to be a drummer, you can always use more sticks. Or some Hot rod. Hot Rods are little sticks bunched up together that have a softer sound on the drum kit. They don’t require any particular technique and they can save your butt if you need to play in a quiet situation. You can also decide to get some brushes, these are fun. But those might require you to seek out the technique to play them (I know an excellent drum teacher that can help you).

For a drummer who like gizmos, the table is spread! You got the rotating tuning key, the one that has a handle that swivels. You got special effects cymbals, whether it’s a China cymbal, or a trash one. That’s a little more pricey, but it is a great present. You can also opt to get a tambourine, one of those you can mount on the hi hat, or some little wood blocks, or a Cajon, always useful at parties. Cajon are fairly cheap with some of them under the $100 mark, the most expensive running upward of $200. Don’t know what a cajon is, here’s one:

What else could you get? Oh, a cow bell. If you want an easy-does-it little sound effects to attach to the kit of the favorite drummer in your life, think cow bell. 20 bucks for the thing, and 30 buck for the thing that attach the thing to the thing and you’re done at right around $50. Cow bell!

Now, let’s see, do you love a drummer? Is she loud? Really loud? Irritating? Taps her way through any conversation like a nervous tick? Ok. Christmas time! First off, there are pads. That’s the name. It make a very soft sound and drummers need to spend a lot of time on it. Second: tips! There are some soft plastic tip you can put on the tip of drum sticks to make them quieter. You can find those pretty much anywhere. They are small and cheap, but they come with a long name: “4 Pieces Drum Mute Drum Dampener Silicone Drumstick Silent Practice Tips Percussion Accessory Mute Replacement Musical Instruments Accessory”. Say that 5 times in one breath. 

All right, enough with the drummers.

Now the piano.

Piano players seem to be all set once they get the instrument itself: the piano or the keyboard that can help them practice. But they are a ton of other things you can do. One of the must is the scarf that has the keyboard design. No, I’m kidding. But maybe I’m not. Same for the mug with the keyboard on it, or the toothbrush with the keyboard on it, or the pendant in a shape of a piano, or the one in the shape of an eighth note. You understand, you get me. Those present are cheap and can fill up a stocking real quick.

That’s for the fun ones. Let’s see now the useful ones.

Let’s go with the ambiguous one first: the metronome. Oh, that’s a conflicted signal you’re sending to the cherish piano player of your life when you get them a metronome. You can get those old one that have the moving arm. They go “Click click” until the end of time, you got to recrank them when they run out of juice. You can can go with the modern version. Google “electric metronome”and you’ll get the lot.

You can hint at a favorite author you’d like to hear in the repertoire of your lovely pianist. That present is very cheap and easy: get her a book with a few songs by said author. Less than 10 bucks usually. Only one caveat: make sure it’s at about her level. Something too easy, she’ll yawn, too hard she’ll give up.

Otherwise you can offer a subscription to It has a ton of videos of concerts, operas, ballets, etc… I’m not sure how much that’ll run you, maybe $60 for a yearly subscription. For a little more money, and something she can actually play with, you can offer a subscription to Presonus Sphere. This one requires a little more preparation. First off, what is “Presonus sphere”? It is a program you rent from Presonus that’s made for the recording needs of studio engineer. It’s got everything you need on the computer plus the sounds, but without the keyboard itself. Ha! I forgot. This program requires you to have a computer and keyboard. It doesn’t work with the acoustic pianos. It needs to have a midi plug. The midi plug itself will have to be plugged into an interface that’s connected to the computer, and that’s about it. Once you got that, you’re ready to rock. Literally. Or Samba, you can samba too. Or Hip-hop. It’s got a world of sound. The price of “Presonus Sphere”? $14.95 per month. Or $179.40 per year. We are still under the $200 mark. It will require a little learning from the keyboardist, but all is explained on wonderful videos available on YouTube.

What else? The piano player doesn’t have a sustain pedal? Get one. Less than $20. An extra wide clip music stand orchestra light: less than $30. Little clips to keep the book open: Less than $12. Piano Chords, Scales & Modes Charts: about $13. 

Ok, I’ll stop. That should be enough. Now you can race to the store.


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