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So, let's be honest: who does not have at least one mug with a sheet music pattern at home?| Photo: Lyudmila Izmaylova (flickr)
So, let's be honest: who does not have at least one mug with a sheet music pattern at home? | Photo: Lyudmila Izmaylova (flickr)
Anna Marie Hradecká - Fri, December 23, 2022 - 08:00

TOP 5 Music Gifts No Musician Wants

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, they say. But let's face it, some of the gifts on the following list, which are supposed to make us happy at the Christmas tree, should be buried in a snowdrift the night after they're unwrapped. Or, follow the example of Rachel from Friends and demand a receipt from Santa Claus, take the useless junk back to the shop and instead buy something that you, as a musician, really need – and can choose better for yourself.

1. Items with a musical design

Okay, socks with pictures of guitars or a saxophone-shaped keyring, that can also be used as a bottle opener, will keep the recipient warm inside and out. But who wants to wake up every morning in bed sheets printed with music scores, use sheet music toilet paper in the bathroom, drink coffee from a mug with a treble (or, heaven forbid, bass!) clef, and then walk around wrapped in a scarf with a keyboard?

These items, often kindly given to us by our loved ones, tend to annoy musicians. Some are reminded that they still haven't learnt to read music and may not be able to do so in their lifetime, while others are angry that an ignorant designer has imprinted the gift with a score that makes no sense from the point of music theory.

2. Naive novel with a musical setting

"She stood on a platform in a cone of light. She tilted her head gracefully and began to sing..." Yes, this line from some kind of sugary novel, whose heroine was an opera singer, really amused me. It is really "wonderful" to sing with a tilted head (especially opera), as anyone who has ever tried it will tell you.

When such a "bestseller" pops out of the Christmas paper, picked up in a bookstore just because the title contains the word "music" (and the author has spent about as much time in a musical environment as Karl May did among Native Americans), don't be afraid to use a sparkler and role-play a fireman from Fahrenheit 451. Later you can tell your extended family that as a musician, you are intellectually stunted and cannot read anything but tablature.

3. The second volume of the triangle lesson book

It's great that your loved ones want to support you in your ambition to improve your playing technique. However, unless they find out in advance whether you intend to educate yourself through printed advice and what methodology you might like, buying overpriced publications such as How to become a musician in 10 days is a waste of money.

At the Christmas tree, the gratitude-seeking donor will most likely hear only an evasive "thanks, Dad" and the poor textbook will meet the fate of a mouse pad at best. And you, as the gifted musician, can only ask yourself why the hell you didn't specifically ask Santa for that chord book.

4. Voucher to a "music" restaurant

Food is important – this is especially true for musicians and actors. However, I'm not sure if your taste buds will be particularly stimulated by the sight of Johann Sebastian Bach, with his curls and three chins, peeking out gracefully from under the potatoes and steak on your plate (actually experienced in an upmarket restaurant). Or if the music-loving customer will be somehow tuned in by the restaurant's cringy advertising promising a meal that "is music to your taste buds", a "symphony of flavours" or a "gastronomic concert".

If someone wants to treat a musician to a meal, they can simply invite them to their favourite place, which might not offer appetizers in the shape of eighth notes, but they do have a taste for a good playlist.

5. Collection of 30 CDs with recordings of classical music hits performed by no-name artists

The teleshopping used to be full of it – and unfortunately, the stock hasn't run out yet. That's why even today you may let slip the sincere "oh, you didn't have to" when you unwrap a gigantic gift set with a series of CDs with Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's Little Night Music, Beethoven's Fifth and Dvořák's New World Symphony – all performed by unknown interpreters in a lukewarm, unoriginal manner and under the baton of the free copyright market of long-dead composers.

As Shakespeare said: "The rest is silence."  ...and the burning question of whether or not CDs can be recycled into plastic.


So, let's be honest: who does NOT have at least one mug with a sheet music pattern at home? How do you deal with unwanted musical gifts? And what kind of musical gift would you really like to find under the Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments!

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Anna Marie Hradecká