7 Gifts to Make a Musician Rejoice

Joy in looking and comprehending is Nature’s most beautiful gift.
~Albert Einstein

Here are some gift ideas for the musician or music-lovers in your life. I either have these, or have looked into these items and have chosen what I believe to be the highest quality gear at the most reasonable prices. Hope these help you out! Happy holidays!

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

iPad 2iPad, (from $450)

This device has so many applications for the musician that it’s too much to list here, but this great device can do so much. Yes, it’s expensive (I’d recommend the 64GB version for more storage and, of course, more $$ but it’s worth it). The versatility and functionality of the iPad makes it dozens of gadgets in one. Here’s a partial list of what your musician will do with it:

      • guitar effects,
      • 4-track recording studio
      • composition (garage band and many others)
      • virtual instruments
      • store your music and never have the wind blow pages off your stand again
      • scrolling lyrics so you can perform hands-free
      • um, the entire Internet
      • tuners
      • metronomes
      • live performance tools
      • much, much more.


 Tascam DR-40 Digital Recorder ($169)

Every musician I’ve interviewed (all of them stellar players) records themselves during practice and performance in order to evaluate how well they’re doing, how their tone matches what they think it should be, and whether they’ve achieved the goals they’ve set for themselves. Recording yourself is essential to getting better. Here’s a great way to record yourself and anything else with great fidelity and superb quality. Easily download files to your computer.

  • XLR / TRS balanced MIC/LINE inputs with phantom power and +4dbu line level input.
  • Switchable microphone position from X-Y to A-B
  • 4-track recording – record the built-in microphones and mic inputs at the same time
  • Dual recording captures a safety track to prevent distorted takes
  • Up to 96Hz/24-bit resolution
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.5 x 8 inches ; 1.2 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Batteries: 3 AA batteries required. (included)

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)


Hear all the nuances in your music and media

Sennheiser Closed Circumaural Hi-Fi Headphone ($68!)

These great headphones are WAY below the $130 asking price. So low Amazon can’t list the price on its page. You can only see the price when you check out. I bought a pair.
4.4 out of 5 stars (90 customer reviews)

The HD 448 allows you to get closer to your music and movies without distractions. Using specially tuned acoustic transducers, the HD 448 reproduces clean, intimate sound waves directly into your ears for a lifelike sound that helps you rediscover your music all over again. The leatherette earpads block out ambient noise, allowing you to listen at safer levels with a much greater attention to the enhanced detail this headphone provides. The includedcable extension adds length on-demand for listening on-the-move or at home.


  • Closed, around-the-ear design blocks outside noise
  • Good attenuation of ambient noise
  • Lifelike stereo sound experience
  • ergonomic design provides comfortable fit
  • Includes a storage pouch and extension cable for added length and protection
  • Rich crisp bass response and faithful dynamic audio reproduction
  • Advanced acoustic system with powerful neodymium magnets and lightweight diaphragms
  • Powerful bass and increased signal levels for modern rhythm-driven music
  • Gold Plated plugs and 6.3mm stereo adaptor allows for excellent connectivity
  • 2-year warranty
I have one of these babies and it’s a lot of fun to use. I’ve spent hours messing around with this, creating beats, playing along with it, using it in performance, and even as a teaching tool. It’s great fun.
The KAOSSILATOR’s user-friendly touch-pad lets you create musical and rhythmic phrases using any of its 100 synth programs, such as leads, basses, realistic instrument sounds, playable drums and drum patterns.
– Each time you add a phrase, KAOSSILATOR stacks it on top of the previous phrases you created. The results are as simple – or complex – as you desire.
– Choose from the 31 available scales, and play in any key. Lay down your groove with any 50 gate-arpeggiator patterns for even more KAOSS!
– Whether you play an instrument or not, you’ll want to get your hands on the KAOSSILATOR. It’s the ultimate sketchpad or performance instrument for anyone looking to get in “touch” with their musical ideas.
– The portable, travel-friendly KAOSSILATOR runs on batteries or a 4.5v adapter.
– Use the it as a multi-instrumental musical instrument, sample source, live rig addition, or just a fun way to get your groove on!
– Programs: 100 including synth basses and leads, natural instruments, chorded sounds and drum sounds
– Drum Patterns: 10
– Musical Patterns: 31
– Types of Gated Arpeggiators: 50
– Key Range: ±12
– Connectors: Stereo line out
– (Dual RCA), mini headphone out
– Sampling Frequency: 48kHz
– DA Conversion: 24-bit linear
– Power Supply: 4 AA batteries (6V)
– Battery Life: Approx 5 hours (with alkaline batteries)
– Included Items: Owner’s Manual, parameter sheet, four AA “test” batteries
– Dimensions: 4.17″ W x 5.08″ D x 1.14″ H
– Weight: 5.43 oz. (without batteries)
– AC Adapter: Optional AC adapter-ready (DC4.5V – available from Korg)

Heavy Duty Folding Music Stand ($30)

Put that old flimsy wire music stand in the attic and get busy with this beefy, sturdy stand;

Product Features

Color: Charcoal
  • 13.5″ X 18-3/4″. Bookplate, rolled edges for safety and strength
  • Angle adjustment tension knobs, easy removal from upper shaft
  • Friction locking knobs, 1-3/16″ center shaft, adjustments fully extend shafts from 24″ to 45″ and anywhere in between
  • Hi-impact plastic leg housing, friction locking knobs, Leg support straps, non-slip rubber feet, variable spreading legs
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 4.2 x 14.2 inches ; 8.6 pounds

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (124 customer reviews)



Digital Drum Set ($169)

Rhythm is the fundamental skill needed by every and any musician. One of the best (and most fun!) ways to work on your rhythm skills is to play a drum set.

Learn the drums with Ion Audio’s Sound Session complete electronic drum set–a great choice for those who don’t have room for a traditional set of drums or need to keep practice session on the quiet side. Fitting into a fraction of the space of an acoustic drum set, the Sound Session set comes with everything you need to get started playing.

It features natural-feeling drum and cymbal pads as well as foot pedals for hi-hat and bass drum. A rugged, adjustable stand holds the drum and cymbal pads and comes with all the mounting hardware, and the set also includes all the cables you’ll need.

The Sound Session set includes a drum-sound module with over 100 different instruments in 15 drum sets. You can modify and save the drum sounds and drum set for totally custom setups. There are 41 play-along music patterns for practicing and jamming out. You can listen to the drum parts on the patterns to get ideas for what to play, then mute the drums and play your own part. Record your drum performance and listen back, and use the built-in metronome for learning to play with a steady beat.

Key Features

  • Complete electronic drum set
  • Natural-feeling drum and cymbal pads on a completely adjustable stand
  • Takes up less space than acoustic drums
  • Makes almost no sound when played with headphones
  • 108 drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds in 15 customizable drum sets
  • 40 play-along music patterns with mutable drum parts for practicing and jamming out
  • Light-up play-along display for learning drum patterns
  • Record your drum performance and listen back
  • Metronome for learning to play with a steady beat
  • 1/8-inch stereo headphone and speaker-system outputs, mix-in input for CD or MP3 player

What’s in the Box

  • Three drum pads
  • Two cymbal pads
  • Two foot pedals
  • Adjustable stand with mounting hardware
  • Sound module
  • Connection cables

Product Description

ION IED11 Sound Session Electronic Drum Set; Velocity Sensitive Pads, 40 Presets and Built-in Sequencing at Your Command! For the player who lives in an apartment or with roommates, an electronic kit can mean the difference between practice or no practice. Ion’s Sound Session drums are the answer to this serious issue. Taking up less space than traditional acoustic kits and the ability to practice with headphones on, the advantage is obvious, you can play on your own schedule. Providing the pads and foot pedals you need for playing drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds, the IED11 features a sound module with 108 realistic sounds, 40 preset patterns (including rock, R&B, funk, blues, rap, techno, reggae, jazz, new age, country, latin, and ballad styles) and comes with a pair of drumsticks. The soft, rubber drum and cymbal pads deliver a natural feel and with velocity sensitive design you can add dynamics by simply by changing up the intensity of your swing. ION IED11 Features Five drum pads respond accurately to quieter and louder playing Two foot pedals for playing bass drum and HiHat Drum module with 108 high-quality drum, cymbal and percussion sounds 40 preset patterns in a variety of styles Sequencer for recording and playing back your own drum patterns.
Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Hearing Protection ($20)

Protect your musician’s hearing. Playing music, even if you’re a classical musician (many professional woodwind players wear hearing protection b/c they sit in front of brass players), is essential.

Product Features

  • Special music filters offering outstanding sound quality
  • Very comfortable
  • Very compact and hardly visible in the ear
  • The Classic model contains 2 filters and 1 pair of earplugs.
  • Hygenic storage and travel box ensures that the earplugs are protected and always carried with you

Product Details

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