Gifts for an aspiring musician
Every rock star, hip-hop god, and pop diva got their start somewhere. For Jimi Hendrix, it was on a tattered one-string ukulele he found in a garage. For Louis Armstrong, it was at a troubled youth home he was frequently sent to, one that just so happened to have a music class. No matter how they began their journey, though, each had one thing in common -- they felt a passion for music and ran with it.
You may have noticed similar proclivities developing in someone in your life. Maybe it's your son, daughter, spouse, or sibling, and you're looking for ways to encourage their musical interests. Search no further! Here are our favorite gift ideas for the aspiring musician.
A little theory
Whether it's guitar, piano, drums, or saxophone, a dose of music theory can open the door to a deeper understanding of your instrument. There are plenty of great musical texts you can read, such as the Hal Leonard Guitar Method book, which includes instructionals, fret diagrams, and 164 full-band tracks for play-alongs.
Six-string starter pack
Aside from hand-me-downs from friends or family members, a six-string starter pack is one of the most common ways guitar players get their start. You won't find top-shelf equipment in these bundles, but for a beginner, they include absolutely everything you need.
Take the Zeny Electric Guitar Starter Package, for example. It bundles a full-size electric guitar, carrying case, amp, strap, strings, instrument cable, and even a whammy bar tremolo system. Don't play the guitar? No worries. There are reasonably priced starter packs for violin, drums, keyboard, and just about every other instrument out there.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice pads are a fantastic way to build drumming coordination without driving your housemates up the wall. These simple devices are available in several sizes and shapes and are portable enough to be taken anywhere. High-end products like the Evans RealFeel practice pad go one step further, offering one surface for realistic stick rebound and a harder surface for a more difficult practice workout. While experienced drummers still use these, they make great gifts for beginners, too.
If there's more room in your budget, consider an electric kit like the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit for quality sound that you can turn down.
Earplugs are arguably the most basic pieces of equipment a musician can own, but that doesn't mean they're not important. The benefits of earplugs are obvious, but you'd be surprised at just how many burgeoning rock stars go without them for band practices or live shows. Thankfully, there are countless choices today.
Basic foam earplugs that come in packs of 40 function just fine, but consider the EarDial Ear Plugs for something a bit more high-tech. The soft silicone plugs are designed to filter out harmful decibels without sacrificing sound quality for concerts and parties, and there's a helpful free companion app. It measures the decibel level around you and displays how long you're able to stay without risking hearing damage.
Contain the noise
Similar to our previous entry, but at a slightly larger scale, is the acoustic shield. Also known as a drum shield or drum screen, these enclosures are made of acrylic panels that house drums or other loud instruments. The shield doesn't completely soundproof what's inside, but it certainly tones down and isolates the noise. This is particularly important for recording when you don't want sounds bleeding over.
Another way to insulate a practice room is to line it with soundproofing foam tiles. These panels control a room's acoustics, reduce echo, and prevent sound from bleeding outside. Depending on which model you land on, they can be pretty stylish, too.
Stay in tune, stay on time
Regardless of which instrument you pick up, it's extremely helpful to be in tune and on time, especially if you play with others. Tuners and metronomes are essential components of any gig bag, and if you can put them together without breaking the bank, you have the perfect addition to any musician's utility belt.
The GuitarX X7 combines a tuner, metronome, and tone generator into a compact, inexpensive package. All the info you need is presented on a large color display, and it's incredibly simple to use. You won't fear someone saying, "Not my tempo," ever again.
Andrew Hard is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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