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Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > MERRY MUSICAL CHRISTMAS

Music Teacher


Posted December 7, 2016   |   1117 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) From stocking fillers to longed-for first instruments, MT has some ideas that might make it under the tree.


Any music teacher or guitar player is aware of the frustration of losing or splitting a guitar plectrum – and it always seems to happen when you least need it to. American company Muzjig seem to have come up with their own unique solution – and it doesn’t involve stockpiling a year’s worth of picks. The Pick Cutter makes it easy to punch plectrums out of sheets of plastic in any colour or pattern, and is as easy to transport as a small piece of stationery. Made out of solid steel and with a sharp plate that punches out picks, the Pick Cutter is heavy duty and hard-wearing– and you can use your own patterned plastic for bespoke plectrums. At £15.25, the handy tool also comes with four strips of plastic, a pick holder and a special gift box. www.muzjig.com


Great Composers Finger Puppet Set

Be it for fun or just because they’re rather cute, there’s little reason to not be charmed by the Great Composers Finger Puppets. Beethoven, Mozart, Puccini and Verdi stand at around 10cm each and can even be put on the fridge after playtime; these little puppets double as magnets. The puppets can be bought online at £19.95 for the entire set, and are great for both adults and children.



Chord DIY Self-build Ukulele

Christmas is often a time of giving and receiving gifts that likely won’t be used come the New Year. Keeping in the creative spirit while also nodding to usefulness is HW Audio Ltd’s Chord DIY Self-build Ukulele. This is perfect for those of musical mind who want to try their hand at something new this Christmas, without their time going to waste. The self-assemble kit contains everything you’ll need to build your very own ukulele, including a basswood body, a catalpa neck and a rosewood fingerboard. An instruction manual and basic chord chart are included in the pack.




Boing Stands

For something a little different, why not consider buying someone a Boing stand this Christmas? The stands, which are shaped like a little person and can be used for guitars, cellos and even iPads, are covered in silicone – meaning no surface damage to your instrument. Coming in several colours, Boing stands look good even when they’re not holding anything. They can be found online for £32 for iPads, and £36 for guitars and cellos.



Kinsman Guitarist’s ‘Dual-stool’

This ‘Dualstool’ by Kinsman serves as both a stool and a stand for your guitar. Being portable, lightweight and foldable, it takes up little room while still being multi-functional. The seat is padded and angled slightly for increased comfort, while the foot rest is nonslip – so this product doesn’t scrimp on usefulness. This ‘Dual-stool’ is available from JHS and Music Room and features a retractable neck cradle with a safety catch, meaning your instrument can be stored without risk of slipping. This handy stool is available on the Music Room website for £29.99.




Ukulele First Aid Kit

Instruments are almost definitely going to experience some wear and tear in their lives, particularly if they’re much loved  and often used – as all instruments should be. But there’s no need to jump straight to a new instrument or expensive repairs; Germany-based Company Thomann source a first aid kid for surface ukulele faults. The kit includes a plectrum, strings, a strap, a digital tuner and a play book with chords – all the things you’ll need for those smaller repairs while on-the-go. The kit can be found on the Thomann website for £19.61 or at Argos for £17.99, and is suitable for ages 6 and over.



Boutique Music Design Perfume Bottle

Allow music and fashion to come together with this boutique perfume bottle, which features a sheet music design. Complete with a gift box and coming with a matching design mirror, this is soon to go out of stock – so grab yours fast!




Brand new scoring software

The composer or arranger in your life (yourself?) will thank you for a copy of Dorico, Steinberg’s new and longawaited scoring software. It’s still a work in progress, but they will thank you for getting them in at the beginning. If they already use Sibelius, Finale or Notion the new software is available for £225; if not, the full version is £452 – a generous and possibly tax-deductable Christmas present.


Instrument corner

Nuvo’s jSax, reviewed on page 55, is a stripped-down and simplified plastic saxophone designed for younger and beginner players. It is lightweight, portable and easily held, and more resistant to dents and scrapes than metal instruments – and available in a range of colours. Particularly if you know a child who loves the saxophone but is too small for a traditional instrument, this could be a great way to ensure plenty of enthusiastic tooting over the Christmas holidays. Currently available at Chamberlain Music for £71.10 (www. chamberlainmusic.com). Looking for an entry-level plastic single reed? Howarth’s Academy clarinet played ‘way beyond my memories of a plastic clarinet’s capabilities’ for MT’s reviewer last year (£295). For a bit less (available at around £150), Nuova’s CL3S was ‘a pleasant, genuine surprise … a joy to play’.



The pBuzz (reviewed on page 55) is the latest plastic instrument from Warwick Music Group, the company behind the pTrumpet and pBone. It’s based on the trombone and certainly more than just a bumped-up vuvuzela, with six slide positions from F to B?. The product recently won the gold award at the Primary Teaching Awards, and has an RRP of £19.99.



Perhaps given as a present more than any other instrument, the guitar is often requested by children and young people (and not so young). Al Summers reviewed several beginner acoustics in MT August, with the spruce-topped Hokada coming out on top as the bargain ‘pick of the bunch’, available for around £119.


Retro stocking filler

A super stocking filler if ever there was one, the Dubreq Stylophone is a low-cost remodelling of the original 70s classic. Relaunched in 2003, the Stylophone now includes a headphone output (‘allowing users to experiment and create music without compromising the sanity of those in the close vicinity’), and an audio input, allowing players to jam along to their favourite tracks – all for just £19.99. For those with a more professional interest, the S2 Analogue Synthesiser (£299) is a cut above.



The stage is set

If you’re an underresourced classroom teacher desperate for an easy-to-use staging system, then Gratnells Stage could be the perfect gift from your SLT – it takes all approaches. As managing director Murray Hudson says: ‘Gratnells Stage provides schools with a system that will help raise standards, inspire performance and give children literally a step-up in the enjoyment and value they get from their time at school.’ MT



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