Musical Gift Ideas

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I know what I’ll be hearing about from my students throughout the next couple of weeks: the next major holiday! Whether they celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, giving and receiving gifts is an important topic for almost all of them.

I do like to give my students a small gift before the holiday break, but I’ll save that for another post. Today I’m going to tell you about the gifts I’ve helped my students make to give to their families. I know you’ll be shocked to hear that they all involve music.

  • CD containing recordings of current repertoire. This is the least labor-intensive gift, because my students (primarily those who take voice lessons) are already recording their current songs, anyway. I normally save those recordings to the students’ flash drives, but it’s super simple to create a playlist of them in iTunes and burn it to a CD. If the student is planning to give it as a gift, I’ll create a customized CD label using DiscLabel — I highly recommend this downloadable software for Mac users; for PC, I like Memorex’s exPressit Label Design Studio.
  • Holiday songs or album. Let me qualify this by pointing out that as much as I love holiday music, not all of my students do; working on holiday songs is always optional. I do have many who choose to record 1-2 such songs for their families. Learning, practicing and recording an entire album (for my students, that’s 5-8 songs) of holiday songs is a huge undertaking, so only a few students have gone this route. They sure are proud of their hard work once that final product is in hand, and can’t wait to present it to their families.
  • Video recording. For some of my students, especially those who receive music therapy, a video is the better option. Many of them already love to make and watch videos of themselves, so this is a fun way to let their families see their progress and new skills. (Of course, I always make sure to have full written permission before making such videos.) As far as sharing those videos go, there are two different routes I take. One is to save the video to a USB flash drive, and the other is to upload it to my Vimeo Plus account, where only those with the link can view it.

I have over 50 students, and not all of them are interested in creating musical gifts for their families. But for those who are, doing so is a fun and productive way to spend our December lessons. Do you help your students create gifts? And if so, please share the details!