Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music to Their Ears

Have you ever walked into a store and been swept away by the music that is playing? I remember the first time I heard Tiger Lily by Natalie Merchant. I was sitting in a quiet bar on a lovely summer Friday afternoon waiting for a friend and the music set just the right mood for the pending weekend of rest and relaxation.  Music is a matter of personal taste but with some forethought it’s possible to choose terrific CDs to give a friend. Looking for a safer alternative? How about an iTunes gift certificate and a list of songs that you think your friend would enjoy? I’d love that gift!

Wireless Headphones: Great Gift for Men

Grace: Valentine’s Day is not just a holiday for women, although it may be difficult to remember.  Actually, in Japan women give men they’re interested in chocolate on February 14th, and then a month later, if the man feels the same, he gives her chocolate back.

However, if you feel like participating in a more traditional Valentine’s Day, a great gift for a guy are these bluetooth stereo headphones.  They cancel ambient sound AND they connect wirelessly, which is always a plus.  I’ve tripped over the chord to my headphones way too many times, so I think anyone would love to receive chordless headphones.  This is a great gift for any guy, regardless if he loves listening to music (although that would be a plus).

Gift for iPod Enthusiasts

Grace: Even though I love all my techo things, such as my computer and my iPod, I’m also overly paranoid about them.  As my sister would tell you, I freak out when she touches either of them because even though they are made to be touched and used, they COULD break.  It comes to no surprise that even though I love to bring my iPod everywhere, I get really paranoid when I want to listen to it outside or while I’m taking a shower because what if it gets soaked?

A great gift idea for someone who is as paranoid about their iPod as I am (or not) is this waterproof sound case for the iPod.  The clear case protects your precious iPod from dirt and water, and it even floats so you can use it in the pool if you’d like.  There is even a click-wheel membrane so you can still operate the iPod as usual.  This is a great gift for music lovers everywhere who just don’t want their iPod to die.

Dan: This is a really genius gift idea.  Most everyone is rocking out on their iPods these days but do not realize how much damage they are inflicting upon it all the time.  My first iPod, which died…last summer from two and a half great years of service…broke because I kept dropping it and letting it get wet outside.  If I had this case than I am sure I would still be using my old iPod and not the new one I have today.

Are You Out of Ideas?

Dan: This season there are many new products coming out for purcahse but so many of them may be out of budget.  This gift idea may sound typical, but it is one that can be USED and truly appreciated.  Many gift certificates are frowned upon because of the store(s) that they can be spent at.  A McDonald’s gift certificate for $50 is amazing, but the health benefits are not.

An iTunes gift certificate, though, is great because the program has evolved into a store that carries more than just music.  You can find movies and even books on tape at the iTunes store now.  There are no applied time limits for the cards so that there is no rush to use them right away.  You can spend as little as $25 and go up to $2500 I beleive.  The card alleviates the stress of continual credit card charging (per song) and really makes music and other mediua purchases in the future more relaxed.  This is the ultimate gift card and a GREAT gift idea!

Grace: I LOVE getting iTunes gift cards as gifts!  I hate buying full CDs because I usually only like a couple of songs, so I find iTunes to be very convenient.  However, it may be convenient for me, but it makes it rather difficult for other people to buy me music as a gift.  That’s where the iTunes gift card comes in.  There’s no more of this guessing and gambling when buying music for someone; they can do it themself, but it still feels like a gift from the heart, which is what is important.

A Gift and a Tip

Dan: If you play guitar (any type of guitar) or a variety of other wooden stringed instruments then this post pertains to you!  I have been playing guitar since I was in the fifth grade and every year one of my cherished babies has to go to the guitar doctor to get a fix up.  There are many reasons for why a guitar becomes unplayable (change of seasons and wood warping, friends touching it without your permission, gauges of being too heavy, etc.) but there is one that most people do not know about.  How do you store your instrument?

For years I had my guitars hanging on vertical wall holders or standing on a vertical floor stand.  BAD!  The best way to keep your instrument is lying horizontally on its back as it places the least amount of strain on the neck.  Therefore, a great helpful gift recommendation for the musically inclined is a unique horizontal instrument stand.  This gift can be creative, make it from scratch!  The effort shows that you care for the person and will also provide you space saving storage and a better quality product.  There are horizontal guitar holders that you can find on sale, yet they may not be exactly what you are looking for.  SO PLEASE, musicians, listen to me and start storing you instruments horizontally flat instead of upright, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars of repair fees over the years.

Grace: I really love this gift idea, not only because it protects your instruments, but it’s also a nice way to show off your guitar collection.  Unlike with the violin, many people who play guitar happen to own more than one of the instrument, so this is a great way to keep the instrument in good condition and to show them off.  This is also a great follow-up gift if you gave someone a guitar or guitar lessons as their last gift.  It will not only encourage them to keep playing, but it also makes sure their guitar lasts them long enough.  There’s nothing more discouraging than having to play with a broken instrument.

Don’t Be Stingy, Share Your Music

Grace: Although I love my iPod, sometimes I wish it had a wireless music sharing feature similar to the Zune.  It’s always frustrating to hear a song you like on your friend’s iPod and then have to search everywhere for it or beg your friend to send it to you.  However, I found this nifty little gadget that solves this problem!

The miShare allows files and playlists to be shared between two iPods, making it a great gift for music lovers.  Although it is a bit pricey, it’s certainly easier than frantically searching iTunes for a song you heard on your friend’s iPod or impatiently waiting for them to send you the song.  In addition to being really useful, it seems to transfer files fairly quickly; songs transfer in about 10 seconds while a short video transfers in about 30 seconds.  This is a great gift for anyone who loves both music and techy gadgets.

Dan: I never knew that a gadget such as the miShare even existed!  I am a music lover, how did I not know about this!  After doing some research of my own, this is truly a spectacular gift idea.  This would make a great gift idea for anyone who loves music like Grace and I or someone who has an iPod and knows a lot of other people with one as well.

High End Guitar For a Low Price

How about the gift of music? I have been playing guitar since the sixth grade and will always love to make music with my own hands. It is one thing to listen to music, but it is completely different to be able to say, “I did that!” If there is someone you need a gift for who loves listening to music but does not know how to play an instrument, I highly recommend buying them a guitar for the occasion.

Guitars come in all different shapes and sizes (and price ranges). I began playing a bass guitar and eventually taught myself how to play the acoustic guitar. Guitars range between $100 to anything you can imagine; but, you can find very playable and durable quality guitars at any price range. If you want to check out a wide variety of guitars (pretty much all different brands) check out GuitarCenter (they typically have the lowest prices and match competitor prices if you push them).

If it’s that Jimmy Hendrix/Clapton sound you think they want…I recommend a standard American stratocaster. This guitar is great sounding and will last forever; it is a great guitar to have for your first instrument. Does Pantera or Metallica suit their fancy…go with any ESP for sure. Is Led Zeppelin their favorite band…go with a Gibson or Epiphone. The list can go on, but keep in mind when shopping for guitars that they all have their own sound. If you are buying someone a guitar for a gift, have them go with you or make sure you have really checked it out before you make the purchase.

I personally recommend that if the person is going to start out on the electric guitar to get a standard Fender strat. If they want an electric bass guitar, go with either an Ibanez bass or Fender jazz bass. The guitar is the ultimate gift of music. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to pay a lot of money for a teacher; a book, video, etc will do just fine! 

-Dan