Practice is a complicated and oftentimes political subject for music students. We all have “that friend” who constantly exaggerates how many hours he or she practices (FYI: eating dinner in the practice room beside your instrument doesn’t count as practice). Then again, there’s also always the one we know practices an incredible amount every day, but who pretends to barely practice, perhaps hoping to trick his fellow musicians into falling behind.
Practice becomes even more complicated as the semester rolls by. We often go into the new year with a resolution to practice more, only to find ourselves a little too tempted by distractions once spring arrives. As the semester comes to a close, there are so many things going on that it can be tough to get everything done.
It can be hard to diligently keep up with obligations and responsibilities throughout the year. That’s why you should take care of the little things now, so they don’t haunt you come May. One such little thing would be a finding gift for your music teacher. Nothing is more awkward than receiving a gift from your teacher, only to respond, “Wait a second, I forgot to get you something!” Here are some creative gift ideas for music teachers so you can check that little item off well before finals, juries, and end of semester concerts:
Instrument-Themed Jewelry and Other Handmade Delights
Instrument-themed jewelry? Something tacky like a treble clef pin your grandmother might wear? Nope, not at all. You would be surprised at the amount of available specialty jewelry. I once bought a pendant-style necklace built from a flute key. Yes, pieces of instruments–cool little accessories that only those “in the know” will understand. This is the sort of jewelry that music teachers will appreciate. Now if your music teacher happens to be an 80 year old woman, go ahead and buy her that treble clef pin, but for the more young and hip, unique jewelry would make a perfect gift.
Even if your music teacher isn’t a jewelry sort of person, you can find a lot of great music-themed gifts on Etsy. Anything from beautiful one-of-a-kind paintings and sculptures to knitted hats featuring song lyrics or your music teacher’s instrument(s) of choice is all available on Etsy. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can ask one of the many talented sellers on the site to make something for you!
Take the Utilitarian Approach
What if your music teacher is more of a minimalist and doesn’t want “useless clutter?” In that case, I’d recommend more utilitarian gifts with a friendly touch. One great example of such a gift is one I received; a custom printed towel from Towels and Home with a picture of a snare drum and my initials on it. As a percussionist, I regularly place woodblocks, triangles, claves and other small instruments on music stands during performances. The towel keeps everything quiet as I switch between instruments, and I appreciate the personal touch. Plus the towel is thoughtfully black (as it should be), making it blend in easily with the music stand, but the personalization ensures that mine won’t get mixed in with everyone else’s.
Whether your music teacher values aesthetics, utility, or any combination of the two, the guidelines outlined above should get you started in picking that perfect gift. And remember, now is the time to get those pesky little obligations out the way, so you can better focus on practice throughout the year.