ChristmaKwanzikkah the Holidays around the corner, you’re probably wondering, “What should I get the professional musician in my life?” or alternatively “What should I put on my gift list, considering that I myself am a professional musician?”
If you’re a relative of a working musician and you’ve navigated to this page, let’s get one thing clear. You should NOT get your musician any of the following:
- a Blank Journal with a sheet music patterned cover
- a Tie with a sheet music pattern on it
- a Pillow or a Clock or a Bag with a sheet music pattern on it
- Anything with a sheet music pattern on it
Instead, here’s a few ideas for gifts (that I actually use on a regular basis).
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones
These headphones are meant to be used in the studio, meaning, the goal is to reproduce the sound as accurately as possible. No bass boosting here (I’m looking at you, Beats), just the natural sound of the actual music. Crazy idea, right?
If you’re recording music on the regular, or you just want a good pair of balanced headphones, these are your best bet. Skip the Beats by Dr. Dre (please!) Get these instead.Buy Now / $99.95
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface
I love this interface. Have I mentioned that? Oh right, I did a review on it. This thing is pretty much the best deal you can get.
2 XLR / 1/4in combo inputs with great sounding preamps, headphone and monitor out, and a suite of plugins to match. All in the sleekest brushed metal case imaginable.
Whether you’re a singer/songwriter, or an instrumentalist who wants to record some tracks, this will do the trick. Seriously, this thing is awesome.Buy Now / $149.99
Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display
Back in the old days musicians used to have to carry around paper charts. Remember Real Books? The iPad Mini laughs in the face of the Real Book. Get an iPad, download iReal b and forScore and you’re ready to go.
I’m recommending the iPad Mini 2 specifically because it has a retina display, but is cheaper since it doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor (do you really need that anyway?). Musicians concerned about the smaller size may want a full size iPad, but I haven’t found an issue reading off of the mini.
(BTW all Chart Club charts are specifically formatted with the iPad mini in mind, BOOM!)Buy Now /$229.99
AirTurn PED Bluetooth Page Turner Pedal
I also reviewed this bad boy a little while ago and I love it! Being able to turn the page of your music without having to actually touch the iPad is an incredible thing. If you read sheet music on the regular, you should probably get one.
I’m recommending the PED model since it’s the most affordable option and mostly does the same thing as the slightly more expensive DUO.Buy Now / $69
A #GigLyfe T-Shirt
#GigLyfe on the front, Startup Musician on the back.
This is a limited run T-Shirt, and once they sell out, that’s it. Hurry and get yours before Tevin buys the last one.Buy Now / $17
Shure SE215 In Ear Headphones
While the Sennheiser headphones above are designed for the studio, these Shures are designed for the live setting, specifically as in ear monitors.
If you do any gig that require in ear monitors, you need something better than your Apple Earbuds. Yes, in an ideal world, we’d all have custom molds, but in the meantime these will do just fine. I use these in ears every week and highly recommend them.Buy Now / $99
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Steven Pressfield breaks down the inner battles that working creative people have on a daily basis, how to tackle then, and how to have a professional mentality.
I know, that sounds like a whatever book, but I’m telling you, this book is changing my life. If you’re trying to make a living as a professional musician, or really ANY kind of independent creative work, you NEED to read this book. I literally cannot oversell this. Buy it, read it, then email me. We’ll setup a skype call and look at each other and just go, “Riiiight???” for 20 minutes.Buy Now / $11
External Battery Pack
Fact: The most common phrase uttered at gigs in 2015 was, “Does anyone have an iPhone 5 charger?”
Be prepared for anything with an external battery pack. This bad boy will charge up your iPhone 3x and back, as well as your iPad.Buy Now / $22
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
In this easy and fun read, Austin Kleon breaks down the myth of originality. Rather than running away from our influences, he argues that we should run toward them.
This book opened my eyes to what creativity actually is, and took the pressure off to come up with something wholly “original.”
I liked this book so much, I stole elements of it myself and wrote an article applying some of the concepts specifically to musicians.Buy Now / $11