Don’t risk getting trampled at Target to buy some plastic gew-gaw that will be quickly forgotten. Give the singer in your life something they will really use and appreciate! (Or add to your own list for Santa!) From inexpensive stocking-stuffers to career investments, these have you covered.
1. A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR A VOICE LESSON PACKAGE. Give a gift that gives lasting joy AND can have an enormous payoff for a professional singing career, or if speaking engagements are part of your profession.
2. HUMIDIFIER. The dry winter air can be tough on your throat. Placing a humidifier in the bedroom or other rooms your singer spends a lot of time in can help keep the vocal cords and mucus membrane from getting too dried out. (Use a cool mist as the hot mist can be dangerous.) The average cost is between $100 – $200; mine is by Boneco and was $99; they also make a travel humidifier for $49.
3. PERSONAL STEAMER. For those days when the humidifier is not enough, or if your singer is sick or on tour, try a personal steam inhaler. The MABIS Personal Steam Inhaler was recommended by one of my colleagues, and it is going on my list! (The Uniclife is smaller and operates on a battery so might be especially helpful for touring singers).
4. THROAT LOZENGES. Most lozenges contain menthol which is drying. Fontus Green Apple Throat Lozenges are more expensive than your average lozenge but are made with glycerin and created by a Broadway performer. My personal favorite are Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles. They also use glycerin and are yummy!
5. WATER BOTTLE/MUG/TEA BAGS. Help the singer in your life stay hydrated! And you can pick it up on your next grocery shopping trip.
6. WARM SCARF. This is a must to protect the delicate muscles around the neck which tend to tense up when we get cold! Cashmere, anyone?
7. MICROPHONE. Every singer should have his or her own mic for those occasions when you can’t use the house system. These are the top five as rated by Voicecouncil.com. I’ve used the Shur SM 58 – a precursor to the Beta 58 – for years.
8. SHEET MUSIC/FAKE BOOKS. Jamey Aeborsold Jazz makes a great series of collections of standards for singers that include a sing-along CDs. Also availalable on his site are the comprehensive Hal Leonard Real Books for vocalists, which come in four volumes with different versions for low and high voices.
9. BOOKS ABOUT SINGING OR SINGERS. The National Association of Teachers of Singing has published a great series So you Want to Sing...(Rock, Jazz, Musical Theater etc.). I’ve also really enjoyed reading biographies of singers, especially