Updated: Jan 23
At the Greater Toronto Music School, we offer music lessons in Toronto and strive to cultivate a passion for music inside the class and beyond. With the holiday season quickly approaching, we would like to share some of our favourite musical gift ideas. It can be difficult to find the right gift for musicians because their equipment is a very personal choice. We are confident that these gifts will inspire those who receive them to continue on their musical journey and hope they help if you are searching for a gift idea.
Vinyl records have been making a huge comeback in recent years. In fact, vinyl record sales were up about 15% in 2019 and were poised to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986. Just take a walk through any downtown neighbourhood in Toronto and you’re bound to stumble across several record stores. To some, listening to vinyl provides a more meaningful listening experience. It can be ritualistic and encourages the listener to dig a little deeper, reading about where the music was recorded, which musicians contributed and more. It also offers the opportunity to analyze the album art and get an idea of the visual aesthetic that the artist was trying to convey with their music.
Vinyl is a lossless format, meaning that the pressings are made straight from the original masters and contain all of the detail that the artist intended for you to hear. It is for this reason that audiophiles believe that vinyl sounds better than digital. Most vinyl aficionados will argue that listening on vinyl forces listeners to get to know the artist and album on a deeper level. It is difficult and time consuming to skip to the singles and hits and therefore listeners are forced to take in the album in its entirety, as the artist intended. You might find that a deeper cut which may not have been given a chance on a streaming platform is stuck in your head after multiple listens to a vinyl.
Giving a record player to the musician in your life will mean that they will have to shop for vinyl to listen to. Although online retailers like Amazon do offer a wide range of vinyl records, they are not a substitute for the experience of spending hours browsing through records in a local shop. This is how I have discovered so many of my favourite artists and I always leave feeling excited and inspired. Another advantage to buying vinyl is that you are directly supporting the artist and building up a collection that you can display and be proud of. Unlike subscriptions to services like Spotify or Apple Music, you actually own your music and vinyl that is well maintained often increases in value.
Here are our favourite two record players. The Victrola All-in-1 will provide everything you need at an affordable price. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is a higher quality device designed for the more avid vinyl collector and audiophile. Both will be great gifts and appreciated by any music lover.
Music biographies and autobiographies invite readers into the lives of icons who have provided so much inspiration for so many. They teach valuable lessons by allowing us to stand on the shoulders of those who have achieved greatness. They humanize larger-than-life personalities by revealing their roots, their struggles and their paths to success which allows readers to feel more connected with their idols. Most importantly, they can inspire us to chase our dreams. There are so many amazing music biographies but some of our favourites include Scar Tissue by Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Life by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. You might also consider a book that discusses the neuroscience of music. This is an extremely fascinating topic for most music lovers who will be able to relate to many of the findings. Titles like Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks or This is Your Brain on Music Daniel J. Levitin offer excellent insight into this topic and will be hard to put down for most musicians. Instructional books are a great choice as well, providing the opportunity to learn songs by their favourite artists or new techniques to help push their playing to the next level and we've included some of our favourites below. If you are looking for help working through your new book, you can always contact us for music lessons in Toronto.
Many musicians prefer not to wear ear plugs, complaining that they muffle the sound. Using ear plugs that are not designed for musicians will distort the sound, making it difficult to hear clearly and play properly. It is extremely important to protect your ears if they are subjected to loud music because over time, this can damage the fibres in our ears that help us to hear causing irreversible hearing damage and a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition characterized by hearing sound that does not actually exist. Many people report hearing a ringing, but it can be any sort of sound. Encourage the music in your life to take care of their ears by giving them special musicians ear plugs. Brands like Hearos or Earmerica provide musicians with special technology that does not muffle sound but instead eliminates those potentially harmful frequencies so you can turn up and not worry about damaging your ears. They also come with a convenient carrying case so they’re easy to bring to jams, concerts and rehearsals. Using these plugs means you can turn up to 11 whether you're performing live or taking a music lesson in Toronto and not worry about damaging your hearing.
Have you ever wanted to put your drum kit in your backpack? Look no further! Aerodrums is a revolutionary air-drumming instrument that allows drumming without a physical drumset. Aerodrums solves the problems of portability, space and noise associated with acoustic drum sets without sacrificing expressiveness or versatility. All you’ll need is a compatible Mac of PC. You play Aerodrums in the same way as you would any drum set -- only, there are no drums! The sticks have reflective balls at the tip and are balanced to feel like traditional drum sticks. Pedals are replaced with a pair of special foot pieces with reflective material. Aerodrums can be used professionally by drummers looking to wow the audience during a solo or as an alternative to transporting your full kit to a rehearsal or to give drum lessons in Toronto. They also have amazing sounding samples and are being integrated more and more into recordings, saving hours of setup and making it easier for engineers to work with.. If you would like to take music production lessons in Toronto and learn more about recording Aerodrums, do not hesitate to call us. Aerodrums are not limited to professional musicians, they are ideal for aspiring drummers who have limitations on space and volume level and they’re a great tool for being able to practice while you travel or when you’re trying not to wake the neighbours.
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least and most of us have found ourselves with some extra free time during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to find constructive and positive ways to use this time so we can keep our spirits high. Consider giving the gift of music lessons to the music lover in your life. Whether they are an experienced musician looking to take their playing to the next level or if they’re a beginner who has always been interested in learning, GTMS can deliver a fun and engaging learning experience. We provide music lessons in Toronto and offer lessons to students located anywhere in the world through our online portal. Lessons are open to students of all ages and skill levels and offered on all instruments. Our instructors possess post-secondary level music education and in addition to their years of teaching experience, are experienced performers and recording industry professionals. Lessons are tailored to each student’s specific goals and interests in order to cultivate passion and inspire creativity. Visit us today and give the gift of music.
We hope that these ideas gave you some inspiration if you were having a hard time shopping for the musicians in your life. Leave a comment to let us know what you plan on buying, so that our community can hear about some of your ideas as well. From our family to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season!