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August 4, 2022

Best gifts for music lovers

By Angela Garretson

It doesn’t matter if they create it or just listen to it — if you know someone who loves music, they can never have too much of it in their life. That doesn’t just apply to having instruments, speakers, headphones, and music players — it encompasses anything and everything related to music. This comprehensive gift guide doesn’t just scratch the vinyl surface of what to get that audio addict in your life, it suggests the deep cuts that will make you look like a gift-giving savant.

Gifts for music appreciators

Noise-canceling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sony sets the standard yet again for noise-canceling headphones with this new model in their flagship series. Available in two colors, these wireless headphones let your music lover enjoy pristine music free from outside distractions without blowing your budget. Plus, they’re Bluetooth-compatible.

 

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Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

Known for their high-quality home and car audio systems, Bose delivers excellent noise-canceling features in a sleek package with these headphones. With customizable noise cancellation, Bluetooth compatibility, and two modern colors to choose from, these headphones let you tailor your listening experience.

 

Sold by Amazon and Dell 

 

Apple AirPods Max

Featuring dynamic drivers for warm bass tones, luxurious memory foam ear pads, and the ability to switch seamlessly between devices, these headphones continue Apple’s commitment to providing music lovers with great gear. They’re available in five colors and include a unique carrying case.

 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

 

Noise-canceling earbuds

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple has evolved the ubiquitous AirPods into the AirPods Pro. With adjustable noise canceling, customizable rubber tips, and over four hours of listening time on a single charge, these AirPods carry on Apple’s dominance of the wireless earbud market for good reason.

 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

 

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds

These noise-canceling wireless earbuds use tiny microphones to detect external sounds and erase them from your hearing. Music lovers can listen to their favorite tunes for up to six hours on a charge, and their 30-foot Bluetooth range means it’s easy to stay active without missing a beat.

 

Sold by Amazon, Dell, and Staples 

 

Sony WF-1000XM4 Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Sony has managed to fit their world-class noise-canceling technology into a tiny form factor with these wireless earbuds. Available in two colors, the earbuds can last eight hours on a charge, and the included charging case stores another 16 hours of power.

 

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Audiophile headphones

Sennheiser HD 820 Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones

These premium headphones from Sennheiser are designed for professional recording studio use. Audiophiles can appreciate music like never before with cutting-edge audio technology and comfortable microfiber earpads.

 

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Sony MDRZ1R Signature Series Hi-Res Headphones

Sony’s audiophile offering includes a classy hard case and massive 70-millimeter HD drivers. Specially designed to produce crystal clear sound, these headphones are engineered to eliminate reverberations within the cups themselves so all that’s heard is a pure audio signal.

 

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Portable Bluetooth speakers

JBL FLIP 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Music lovers on the go can’t beat this powerful, portable Bluetooth speaker from JBL. With its low price, waterproof exterior, and massive sound output, they can bring the party from the living room to the pool with ease. It’s available in 17 colors to suit any style.

 

Sold by Amazon, Staples, and Dell 

 

Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Water-resistant with a built-in clip for easy transport, this speaker from Bose is made to move. Since it’s waterproof and buoyant, the speaker can be used in the pool, the shower, or at the beach. Its rechargeable battery can provide up to 12 hours of music for endless dance parties no matter where you are.

 

Sold by Amazon, Staples, and Dell 

 

Best smart speakers

Amazon Echo

Amazon’s smart speaker is small in size but big on sound quality. It supports lossless audio, and your favorite music lover can control their music playback with their voice. They can even connect several Echo speakers to play synchronized music throughout their entire house.

 

Sold by Amazon, Staples, Dell, and Kohl’s 

 

Apple HomePod Mini

Apple’s recently updated HomePod Mini produces the room-filling sound of the original but in a more compact package. It’s available in five colors and works seamlessly with an iPhone via Bluetooth. You can use Siri to communicate with the device and even use multiple HomePods as an intercom system.

 

Sold by Staples

 

Best vinyl record players

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable

Those in need of an affordable but professional-quality turntable will find a lot to enjoy in this record player from Audio-Technica. Vinyl enthusiasts can connect it to their sound system via USB, its included audio cables, or Bluetooth to bring their vinyl collection into the modern era.

 

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Victrola Journey+ Bluetooth Record Player 

If your special music lover is new to vinyl and looking for a more basic way to give their records a spin, this offering from Victrola features built-in speakers and Bluetooth compatibility. With 18 styles to choose from, this little record player looks great with any decor.

 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

 

Best books for music lovers

1,000 Record Covers by Michael Ochs

This book takes a look at 1,000 of the most beloved and vibrant record covers produced from the 1960s through the ‘90s. It’s great for music lovers, record collectors, or anyone with an interest in the history of popular music’s most enduring iconography.

 

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This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

Take a deep dive into the science of what makes people so passionate about music. New advancements in neurology and psychology shed light on music’s effect on the human brain, its use in therapy, and our evolution.

 

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The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl 

Modern rock legend Dave Grohl takes readers on a journey through his storied career, first as the drummer for Nirvana and then as the frontman for Foo Fighters. Filled with candid descriptions of his interactions with peers in the music industry, even those who aren’t fans of Grohl’s work can enjoy his humble take on his rise from garage musician to international superstar.

 

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Gifts for singers 

Illuminated Objects Illuminated Microphone Lamp

This upcycled vintage microphone has been turned into a gorgeous lamp complete with a dimmer switch to adjust the brightness of the 30-watt Edison bulb. It's a unique piece that any keen singer would be pleased to receive. 

 

Sold by Etsy

 

 

Inspired Silver Microphone Silver Circle Charm

Vocalists can show off their love of singing with this cute microphone necklace. It comes on an 18-inch chain with a circular pendant featuring a vintage-style microphone surrounded by cubic zirconia for a touch of sparkle. 

 

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Uncommon Goods Songwriter's Journal

If you're buying for a singer who also writes their own songs, they'll love this songwriter's journal. Each pair of pages has one for writing lyrics on and another for writing musical notation and chords. 

 

Sold by Uncommon Goods

 

Shure SM58LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

The Shure SM58 is the gold standard of vocal mics, used in recording studios and rehearsal spaces around the globe. If the singer in your life doesn't have their own microphone or needs an upgrade, this is an excellent gift.

 

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WubbaLubba Pitch Pipe Tuner

A pitch pipe is an essential tool in a singer's kit, letting them easily find the right note. It's great for developing a good ear and starting in the right key when singing a capella. 

 

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Best Canvas Decor Freddie Mercury Photo Canvas

Featuring an iconic shot of Freddie Mercury (one of the greatest singers of modern times) live on stage, this canvas artwork would look in place in any vocalist's home. Of course, it's an especially great gift for a Queen fan.

 

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Let’s Sing Country

The vocalist in your life can live out their country music star dreams with this singing game for Nintendo Switch. However, they'll need a Switch console and a compatible microphone. 

 

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Ice Carats Sterling Silver Treble Clef Earrings

The most common clef in vocal music, any singer who works from sheet music will be intimately acquainted with the treble clef. These quality sterling silver earrings give a subtle nod to the recipient's love of music and singing. 

 

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Rise8 Studios Novelty Microphone Kitchen Utensils

Are you buying for someone who loves singing and cooking in equal measure? These serving spoons and spatula utensils feature a microphone end that's perfect for anyone who does their best pop star impressions while cooking up a storm. 

 

Sold by Amazon

 

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Gifts for piano players 

Stelle & Hegen Metal Music Book Clip and Page Holder

One problem that many pianists face is their books of sheet music not staying open at the right page. This sturdy music book clip keeps sheet music reliably open at the right page. 

 

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The Giant Book of Intermediate Classical Piano Music

Sheet music can be a tricky thing to buy for piano players if you don't know what they already have. However, this book contains 269 pieces for intermediate players, so there'll surely be some the recipient hasn't encountered. 

 

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Pink Polar Bear Art Steinway Piano Patent Prints

This quality giclee print set features five pieces of vintage patent artwork for the Steinway piano. While some piano-based artwork can look cheesy, these have a sophisticated edge to them that fits most styles of home decor.  

 

Sold by Etsy

 

Toscana Piano Bamboo Cheese Board and Tool Set

If you have a cheese-loving piano player in your life, you couldn't find a more fitting gift. Shaped like a grand piano, the lid of this cheese board lifts up to reveal a cheese knife, fork, and corkscrew below. 

 

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Handwritten Sheet Music Scarf

Hand silk-screened with famous compositions, this sheet music scarf is a great gift for a pianist. The infinity design can be worn in several ways, effortlessly wrapping around the neck with no annoying ends to get in the way. 

 

Sold by Uncommon Goods

 

Alytimes Mechanical Piano Music Box

Shaped like a grand piano and with a ballerina that dances on top, this music box is a lovely gift for a young pianist. It plays "Castle in the Sky" or "Fur Elise," but you don't get to choose which. 

 

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Quotable Cuffs Whitney Howard Designs Piano Cuff

This simple pewter cuff has a piano keyboard design that looks great while remaining understated. It's made in the USA and is relatively chunky, so it works well as a gift for anyone.

 

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Josh Bach Music by J.S. Bach Silk Necktie

Made in America, this quality necktie is a stylish gift for a pianist. Unlike some products that feature musical notation, this one is completely accurate, so the piano player in your life won't cringe at the errors. 

 

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Graphique Flat Musical Note Cards

This music-themed stationery set features 50 cards that say "just a note" on top with a musical note design, plus musical note envelopes and a standing holder. It's a thoughtful gift for a piano player who enjoys hand-writing notes. 

 

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Gifts for musicians

Best fun novelty gifts for musicians

Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch

If there’s a guitar player on your shopping list, they’ll love this unique gift. It’s a guitar pick punch that makes custom picks out of items such as gift cards, hotel room keys, a driver’s license, and more. The kit comes with everything you need to make your first 20 picks.

 

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Make 'Em Laugh “This is a Sharp, Not a Hashtag” Glass Coffee Mug

Music has been around for almost as long as people, but social media has only been popular for about a decade. This glass coffee mug is for all the frustrated musicians who have to listen to their friends call a sharp a hashtag.

 

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Mixtape Card Game

This ingenious card game was created specifically for the music lover. After drawing a card from the top of the pile to get a scenario, each player finds and streams the perfect song to match that scenario. All the players vote to decide who picked the best song to determine who wins the round.

 

Sold by Uncommon Goods

 

Yinlong Metal Guitar Sign

Have you ever looked at a musician and wondered what they were thinking? This sign has the answer: "I might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head, I’m playing my guitar." The sign is perfect for hanging in a studio and has four pre-drilled holes for easy installation.

 

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The Music Stand Music Wall Clock

The clever theme of these brushed aluminum wall clocks makes them perfect for a music teacher. There are four creative designs: a chromatic scale, a circle of fifths, a circle of guitars, and a drumhead.

 

Sold by Etsy

 

Retroworks Musicians Transposition Spinner Ring

Even the best of musicians can sometimes get tripped up when they have to transpose. This little device is something James Bond would use — if he were a rock star. The ring sits innocently on your finger, but when you need to jump to a new key for the sax player who’s sitting in, a quick twist gets you there so you know all the right chords to play.

 

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Best second instruments for musicians

Gecko 17-Key Kalimba

The kalimba is a simple instrument that anyone can learn — even someone who has never played any instrument before. It has 17 labeled keys and comes with everything you need to play your first song in minutes. This model comes with a protective case to store the instrument so it doesn’t get damaged when not in use.

 

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Aklot 15-String Mahogany Harp

The harp is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments in the world. If you have a music enthusiast who’s itching to take their skills to the next level, this 22-inch instrument is a great way to let them explore their tonal options.

 

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Cordoba Concert Ukulele

The advantages of playing a ukulele seem endless. It’s versatile, portable, easy to play, and you can sound great even if you’re just a beginner. It makes the perfect gift for someone who has always wanted to learn an instrument. This concert model has a rich bright sound and a beautiful satin finish.

 

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Backpacker Saxophone

One of the problems with a saxophone is it’s not very portable. This handmade wooden model is a lightweight travel companion that a player can take with them anywhere they go. If you have a sax player in your life, they’ll love this one-of-a-kind gift.

 

Sold by Uncommon Goods

 

The Ohm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set

Admittedly, this Tibetan singing bowl set is as much for the individual seeking inner peace as it is for a musician. But to be truthful, don’t all musicians strive for some sort of harmonic equilibrium? This gorgeous hand-hammered instrument produces a pure and transcendental tone.

 

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Pearl Primero Cajon

If you aren’t familiar, a Cajon is an entire drum set in a box. You play it by tapping different areas of it with your fingertips. It’s an ideal gift for a musician who doesn’t have the space for a full drum set. It’s also a great gift for a drummer who likes to sit in with friends but doesn’t want to lug a full set around in their car.

 

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Best electronic gadgets for musicians

Soundbrenner Pulse Wearable Metronome

Keeping time is tricky. Without a device that produces a steady beat, it’s easy to get rhythms wrong. The wearable metronome fits like a smartwatch and produces vibration so the musician can literally feel the beat. It works with non-traditional time signatures, subdivisions, and accents.

 

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Zoom H4n Pro 4-Track Portable Recorder

Help make an aspiring pop star’s dreams come true. This compact four-track recording studio fits in the palm of a hand and has built-in stereo X/Y microphones. The unit has four inputs, on-board effects, and editing, so a musician can create a song from start to finish on this remarkable device.

 

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Orba Handheld Multi-Instrument

It’s hard to impress a musician, but Orba will do exactly that. It’s a tiny rhythm section that fits in the palm of your hand and lets the artist play drums, bass, and synth. The integrated looper allows the musician to build a song from scratch in seconds. It can be used live or in the studio.

 

Sold by Uncommon Goods

 

Maker Hart Just Mixer S

This miraculous little device makes the list because of its size. It’s a three-channel mixer that’s less than four inches long and is powered by two AAA batteries. It’s perfect for traveling teachers who want to record with their students or individuals who could use a mixer that fits in their pocket.

 

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Korg Volca Semi-Modular Synthesizer

They don’t make synthesizers like this anymore — well, Korg does, and it’s amazing. The old-school design has 50 patch points and 20 patch cables so a musician can create their own unique sound. The compact unit also has a built-in 16-step sequencer.

 

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Contributing authors: Allen Foster, Derek Walborn, and Lauren Corona 
 

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