The holiday season approaches! It’s the perfect time to give a gift for the piano-playing musician you on your list. They’ve probably reached an intermediate level after years of music lessons. And being a creative type, they’re graduadting from jamming at home to a playing casual gig at the local coffee shop, an afternoon program of music at the local senior’s home, or perhaps even a performance at church service. There’s lots of room to improve the setup for these types of performances, and you can find pretty much everything you’re looking for at BestBuy.ca’s Musical Instrument Accessories section!
Be it upgrading a piano or keyboard, or adding some accessories to a musician’s kit, you can help turn your intermediate-level pianist into a “semi-pro!” In making my own wish list of pianos and accessories, I decided to take a look around BestBuy.ca’s Musical Instrument Accessories section. There’s so much great stuff, you’ll have no problem finding something for the pianist on your list this year. Here are some of my ideas — some are big-ticket items, and some are small. One thing’s for sure, there’s definitely something for everyone!
A great deal can be added to the music-making fun if you sing! For many pianists, adding voice to their already accomplished piano playing will turn song into an experience. You’ll want to purchase a rugged microphone that can be used in a variety of situations. A great example is this PGA-58 kit from Shure.
It comes complete with cable and clip for the microphone. The microphone is based on the design of Shure’s SM-58 microphone, which is one of the most popular and affordable microphones ever!
You’ll want get a microphone stand as well to hold the microphone. This BOOM-style mic stand is very versatile, and cost-effective.
If there is a piano and a microphone involved, there’s a very good chance speakers are needed as well to complete performance setup.
Buying a PA (Public Address) system is a good way to go. Simply plug the piano and microphone into the system, and add other instruments as well if desired. The Behringer EUROPORT 5-Channel Portable PA System (PPA200) is nice because it’s portable and easy to use. Behringer has a great reputation for products that are affordable and reliable … and they sound good too!
I’m an “old-school” musician in many respects. I learned to read music on paper, to make edits and changes using a pencil (and eraser!) and to compose and arrange music using paper too. However, things have changed a lot in recent times. The use and integration of technology and music has never been easier or more prominent.
In the summer of 2015, I purchased an iPad for myself. It’s primary use: professional activities. It’s been the best purchase I’ve made for some time. Today instead of a 5-6 binders full of paper music, I carry one iPad. Everything is in it, neatly arranged using an app (ForScore) that is designed for musicians to organize their music. Having an iPad is much more than storage device for music papers however. There are many other music apps available to compliment a musician’s activities. It’s become an indispensable tool for me, as it will for the musician on your list too.
iPad accessories for the musician
If the musician on your list already has an iPad, there are some must-have accessories to purchase as well. One is and iPad holder, which eliminates the need for music stand. The iKlip is very popular and versatile. It can be attached to a variety of places, the most useful of which will probably be a microphone stand.
Another important accessory for iPad is a rugged case. This iPad is going to get a lot of use in a lot of different situations. Therefore, it’s definitely worth protecting the investment. When I purchased my iPad, I bought a case for it right away. Wouldn’t you know, on my first gig, I dropped it on a cement floor. No damage!!!! There are many brands and models to choose from. One example is the OtterBox defender. Be careful to choose the case that matches the model of iPad you’re purchasing!
Another really cool accessory for iPad is a wireless foot pedal that allows you to turn “pages” without taking your hands off the instrument. I see AirTurn PED Page Turner a lot in professional situations, and it seems solid and reliable. It functions via Bluetooth to communicate wirelessly with the iPad. A quick motion with the foot allows for both hands to to be busy playing music, not distracted with “turning pages” of music on the iPad.
Maybe It’s Time for a Piano Upgrade
Using even just a couple of the ideas mentioned above, we’ve come a long way to improving our setup. Perhaps it’s time to consider an upgrade for the digital piano or keyboard too. Quite often, a keyboard that is more portable is needed. It may also be time for a keyboard with a higher sound quality, and larger selection of sounds. Here are some options to consider:
Here we have a solid choice from Yamaha. The NP-V60 has 76-keys, slightly less than the 88-keys of a standard piano, which is OK for an intermediate player (and the pro too!).
What I like about it is has some feel to the keys, as well as great quality sounds. I had a chance to review the Yamaha Piaggero NP-32B earlier this year. The NP-V60 is simply better quality overall, so if you like the NP-32B, then you can expect even more from the NP-V60!
CASIO WK-6600 Electric Keyboard
My impression is that the CASIO WK-6600 is full of potential. With TONS of sounds and beats to choose from, it seems the possibilities are endless for playing and creating music. It can make drum loops, creating a strong beat to along with. This model is really lightweight and portable, making it a good choice for the musician on the go.
The Yamaha P-115 is a full-range 88-key digital piano that offers some of the highest-quality grand piano sounds that Yamaha has to offer. While it’s not as lightweight as the Np-60 (see above), it has touch and feel that much more resembles that of a Yamaha acoustic piano. I see this model often used by “semi-pros” and pros alike, it’s a very popular choice.
Stands, Benches, Pedals & Cases
There are some items that can be easily overlooked. These are small, yet important pieces of equipment! They’re less pricey overall, which makes them easy for most of us to fit into our shopping lists. The first is a good, comfortable (and portable) piano stool. It’s a basic piece of equipment for any pianist. This 3-position bench from On-Stage fits nearly everyone’s needs!
The second is a portable piano stand. Once again, it’s an important part of the piano player’s kit! There are a number of options available, but my suggestion is to choose something simple and sturdy. This double-brace keyboard stand from On-Stage provides more than adequate support and portability. Should you need something a bit more lightweight, their single-brace model might be a better choice.
Next, adding a Sustain Pedal can greatly enhance the pianist’s expressive abilities. This pedal allows for the richness of the piano to “sustain,” adding richness to any mood being created. It’s a very simple design, and OnStage makes a good all-around sustain pedal.
Finally, a good-quality case (or “gig-bag” as it’s often called) will protect the keyboard instrument. They’re easy to handle, and offer enough protection for very minor bumps when the piano is being moved around.
You’ll be surprised how many trips in-and-out of the car a keyboard can make! You’ll need to buy a case that fits the size of keyboard being used — either 49-keys, 61-keys, 76-keys or 88-keys. Gator has a great reputation for their cases, and here is an example of one of the a 61-key cases they make. There are many others to look at as well!
I hope my little list of ideas helps you to find a great gift for the special musician you know. And by offering the right gift, I hope that you enjoy the next time you hear them play or perform as well!
Which item is the most exciting for you to offer this holiday season? Take a good look around BestBuy.ca’s Musical Instrument Accessories section, and let me know!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!