Top 10 Christmas gifts for professional musicians
Nicholas Boyd-Vaughan, Senior Digital & Marketing Manager
As we approach Christmas, the ISM team has been on the lookout for some of the best gifts out there for the professional musician. Here's our top 10, which cover a wide range of budgets.
1. Rode NT-USB microphone
RRP: £169 (often found cheaper)
At the end of 2020, a year which has forced many musicians to work online from home, it feels appropriate that our top gift is a USB microphone which has been widely acclaimed as one of the most versatile for voiceovers, singing and instrumental recording. The Rode NT-USB features an extra long lead, and it can also work with your iPad when used with a camera USB connection kit.
2. ISM membership
From only £15 per year
Yes, we are biased, but we also know the extraordinary benefits for professional musicians of being an ISM member.
As well as the enhanced status of being a part of the UK's leading professional body and being able to use the initials MISM or FISM after their name, the ISM offers music professionals unparalleled advice, insurance, support and legal services, professional development resources, and a huge number of discounts.
3. ACS Pacato 19 earplugs
An ideal stocking filler, the ACS Pacato 19 earplugs offer an average of 19db protection, without compromising the fidelity of the sound. This means that musicians can maintain their connection with their playing whilst adding an extra layer of protection to their hearing. The durability and easy-to-clean nature of the earplugs means they can provide years of use.
For those looking for a more bespoke option, ACS Pro series custom earplugs are available with a discount for ISM members.
4. Boss RC-202 Loop Station
RRP: £299 (often found cheaper)
If you caught the live performance from award-winning beatboxer and producer SK Shlomo at The Empowered Musician 2020, you will already be familiar with the concept of live-looping. The Boss RC-202 Loop Station is a great piece of kit to master if you want to create your own live-looping performances. With a range of contemporary effects built-in, and over three hours recording time, this is the perfect system to get you started. It can also be augmented with pedals to control loops for instrumentalists.
5. 2B pencils
£11.50 for five (inc. delivery)
Perhaps not outwardly the most exciting present, but the humble 2B pencil is one of the more important tools in the professional musician's bag. Music teachers will be able to tell you how often these walk away at the end of a lesson, so having a good supply is vital. The perfect stocking filler, we especially like these from musicroom.com which feature the quote 'Without music, life would be a mistake' – something to which we can all sign our names... with a 2B pencil.
Check them out at musicroom.com
6. Yamaha Venova YVS 100
RRP: £123 (often found cheaper)
Marketed as a casual wind instrument, the Yamaha Venova answers the age old question of what would happen if you put a saxophone mouthpiece on a vuvuzela and drilled in some keyholes. The answer is pure FUN. This description doesn't actually do the Venova justice at all, in fact, it is a highly durable, precision built instrument.
With its recorder-style fingering, it is easy to pick up and play by both experienced single-reed performers and non-players alike, and is an excellent gateway instrument to the clarinet or saxophone. At around 50cm long in its case and weighing 180g, the Venova is also extremely portable.
Check it out at Yamaha Music London
7. Randal Henly: Musical Crosswords
£5.95 + postage
Crossword connoisseur Randal Henly has compiled this collection of 25 crossword puzzles with musical answers. Would this be the perfect gift for a crossword aficionado musician? Well the clues are all there...
Check it out at Stainer & Bell
8. Pageflip Butterfly
RRP: £132 (often found cheaper)
For instrumentalists who work with iPad's and tablets, the PageFlip Butterfly is one of the leading Bluetooth pairing page turning devices. Compatible out of the box with many of the leading tablet sheet music services, this handy device helps musicians scroll through music and turn pages using the two foot-controlled pedals. The device can also be used with your laptop or desktop PC to seamlessly scroll through your acceptance speech when attending a Zoom-based awards ceremony.
Check out the latest price at Bax Music
9. Pickmaster Plectrum Punch
Searching for the perfect plectrum, but no matter how many music shops you visit, you never find the one which captures your spirit? Well the answer could be to make one yourself! This magic machine can take old bank cards or any similar plastic cards and cut them into shape. It also features a built-in file for smoothing off those rough edges. Take that Tesco clubcard!
Check out the latest price at Amazon
10. Hercules EZ-Glide Music Stand
The collapsable music stands we all grew up with were a nightmare, often falling apart, requiring a masters in engineering to put up and down, or falling over as soon as the sheet music touched the shelf – not so with the Hercules EZ-Glide. Hercules' reputation for high-quality instrument stands is well-deserved, and this music stand meets these high standards. Sturdy, solid and easy to use, it is perfect for rehearsals and gigs alike.
Check out the latest price at Hercules Stands