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Gift ideas for Piano Teacher

Posted By: Mr. Peabody

Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 02:24 PM

Howdy all,

I realize that this might open up a deluge of ideas (but that's OK). I'm trying to come up with a nice gift for the Piano Teacher who teaches my sons. She has taught them for 6 years and I thought that I'll get an early start on Christmas ideas (yeah it's really early but my life gets chaotic so if I don't start early, I will end up being pressed much later).

I found that a bookstore in Missoula, MT is able to get the book "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize signed by the author herself (I understand that the author posts on Pianoworld but I want to be clear that this is not a shout out). I would prefer a hardback book but only paperback books are available now. So, I'm looking for suggestions as to what to pair with this signed book. Any other book suggestions? Perhaps a CD? Just wondering what other Piano Teachers receive as gifts.

Mr. Peabody
Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 02:38 PM

It's been a while since we discussed this - you don't need to limit yourself to musical items. Teachers get inundated with those, though I like your book. I've read it, and really enjoyed it. Ask your teacher if she has "Beethoven's Hair" or "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" both excellent reads.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 02:41 PM

I love receiving gift cards, believe or not. Those are the best, because I can choose what to get. The things that I get plenty of and don't need any more of are knock-knacks that are piano or music-related. They're nice and of course appreciated, but since you are asking, I'm telling what I'd prefer. It's hard to know what CD your teacher has already, or what they'd like, so a gift card at a CD store or book store is great. I also appreciate gift cards at Target or Starbucks, because not everything I do is related to music, believe it or not smile.

I have also enjoyed immensely gifts that were hand-made by students. I still have a bead bracelet a student made for me years ago, as well as some hand-knit wash cloths. So if you're "crafty" that always goes over well too.
Posted By: childofparadise2002

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 02:48 PM

From a parent...

I always give teachers gift cards (as versatile as possible so that they can get something for themselves). They all appreciate it, especially last Christmas, because people were all worried about the economy.

Not as unique as a well chosen book, of course.
Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 03:02 PM

Gift cards are nice, but honestly, can you remember what you got with each gift card? I can still associate a student with each physical gift I've received. That's a precious memory to have.
Posted By: Lollipop

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 03:33 PM

I agree that I'd rather have something small and personal, although if it's coupled wth a gift-card, well, I'll cope. wink Seriously, I'm just thrilled to be thought of, and the gift itself is secondary. My music room has knick-knacks of all sorts from students - piano picture frames, calligraphied pictures, mugs, coffee table books, etc. I also have lots of musical instrument ornaments - so many that I have a dedicated tree for them. I remember who gave me each one. Last year I got a lot of homebaked goodies that my family enjoyed. I also have a file folder for all the artwork my students bring me.

What I've been looking for for awhile is an attractive music room clock that doesn't have an audible tick! I'd also like a cushion for my piano bench. Or a magazine subscription to any number of periodicals. Most of those things are more than any of my students' families would spend, though.

We used to give my kids' teacher a big poinsettia plant.
Posted By: Betty Patnude

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 04:23 PM

A wonderful adult student on the forums sent me Perri Knize's autographed hard cover book for Christmas when it first came out "Grand Obsession". It appeared in my mail box because he lives in another state so that doubled the surprise of it all!

I loved the book. I loved most the first chapter of the book where the wood for pianos was being harvested. It was a strong beginning in the forest and I felt transended there.

I think your children's teacher will enjoy this book too!

Rounding out the gift with a CD and a small box of truffles candies would be really indulgent to receive. Then you have really appealed to the senses of sound/ambiance and taste/yum!

Do your kids have any ideas of what she might like?
Posted By: Roxy

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 05:29 PM

As long as it isn't personal like perfume and scented lotions) (which many people are sensitive to) and comes fromt he heart any gift whether handmade a gift card or something musical would be appreciated. Knowing they are appreciated is always a gift within itself. Sometimes it is nice to get things that are unrelated to music and sometimes if unique it is a real kick.
Posted By: ProdigalPianist

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 08:57 PM

Not a teacher but have been a student and had to find gifts for teachers for years.

When I was a kid, my teachers were always thrilled with the homemade pumpkin bread and homemade black raspberry jelly from grandma's black raspberry patch (grandma and I made the bread and jelly in her kitchen).

Some teachers have dedicated studios or piano rooms with decades worth of cool stuff that were obviously gifts from students or meaningful mementos from their own study or travel. Those are the lucky ones. wink A teacher without his/her own dedicated studio (perhaps one who teaches in a music store or travels to students' homes) is likely to be less interested in knicknacks that will just have to be packed up (if they change locations)...and if they don't have space to teach at home I'm guessing it's not a bad bet they don't have a place for knicknacks either.

It all boils down to knowing the teacher well enough to choose...failing that, gift cards and a signed book are very nice. I'm sure if you contacted the author directly she could get you a signed hardback, since the bookstore you refer to is not local anyway?
Posted By: Minniemay

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 09:24 PM

I really appreciate gift cards. If I get one more music tchotchki I may scream! And please, no mugs. Oy!
Posted By: gooddog

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/09/09 11:31 PM

One holiday season, I baked about 1000 teeny tiny bite sized butter cookies in all shapes, topped with sprinkles and cinnamon. It took me hours but that was the whole point. I wanted it to be something special (old family recipe)and from me personally. I wrapped it up in a basket with ribbons. I think it was appreciated and could be used for company too.
Posted By: lalakeys

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/10/09 01:11 AM

I'm agreeing with the several teachers who say they like gift cards. I always hand-write a thank-you card for each gift I receive from students, and if they gave me a gift card I mention specifically what I bought (unless, of course, it was a restaurant gift card--I like getting those, too!) I can still remember and associate many of the things I bought with gift cards from students past & present (books, picture frames, CDs, etc.)
Posted By: LVP

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/10/09 01:25 AM

Not enough people bake Christmas cookies anymore! I am on a mission to remind people how wonderful it is to receive homemade food! It is awesome, and makes people feel loved. I know it takes time. Make time for baking!

Do the cookies or some other baked goods and the book. Why? Because the book is seriously awesome on it's own, but another 'bought' gift makes it look like you felt it was inexpensive and needed 'more'. It doesn't really, it's the thought and not the pricetag that makes the gift, so don't (inadvertently) cheapen the idea of the book by adding more store bought 'stuff'. The thought to give the book is an awesome one!

However, cookies or baked bread take effort and love, and even if s/he doesn't eat them, it's nice to have extra treats around at the holidays to share. And it shows a personal connection. Have you read Grand Obsession? If not, there is a whole part about how pianos have the makers 'intention' built into them...they are an expression of those who crafted them. Same goes for students and cookies smile See, now we have a theme going- the cookies just add to the whole idea.

Gift cards, handy and all that for when you can't think of just the right thing, but save that for next year- to complement more cookies! This year you've already gotten it right!!!

Posted By: Candywoman

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/10/09 03:28 AM

The Piano Tuner, a book by Daniel Mason, makes a nice gift. Also, I never forget the gifts of cash I've gotten.
Posted By: Mrs.A

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/10/09 04:55 AM

I have a piano parent who works at the post office. Every year she gives me a large assortment of postage stamps.

One year a very thoughtful student gave me a board game. It was for the whole family. My kids thought that was very cool.

Posted By: R0B

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/10/09 03:12 PM

In reverse order:

Cash (feels like charity)

Gift tokens (show lack of inspiration and are so impersonal)

Wine ( Usually something I would never drink)

Thoughtfully written card or small handmade gift ( Yippee! shows true appreciation, and effort, whatever the intrinsic value)

I teach three sisters, who made me a beautiful little tapestry, thanking me. Each embroidered their own name....PRICELESS :-)
Posted By: saerra

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/11/09 02:54 AM

My first year with my teacher, I got him personalized pencils from Oriental Trading Company.

They were plain black, very professional looking, with his name, and "Piano is fun!" wink on them. He seemed to like them, and handed them out to students.

(I also threw in an Amazon gift card, since I figured anyone can find *something* they want at Amazon.)

Posted By: NocturneLover

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/11/09 06:19 AM

Would any of you teachers mind a box of fine chocolates?

I think it would be a hit, especially with the female teachers. Who can resist chocolate?

Also, if I only had my teacher for a couple weeks, would sending chocolates be too early as a gift?

Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/11/09 01:28 PM

Normally if I haven't known the teacher for a long enough time, or if I am not so close... chocolates and a nice personal card.

If I am close... I might know where they buy their sheet music or their books so I get a gift voucher.

My teacher is fussy, doesn't drink he doesn't like to drink... odd because he told me he's had mental images of me (below the age limit) giggling after a concert swirling a glass around and drinking. I think he gets too many chocolates, I've seen them everywhere.

Mind you a musician friend is getting married. I was thinking a series of framed watercolour (for the background) autographed/calligraphy manuscripts. (kinda impressionistic)

Posted By: abcdefg

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/12/09 02:32 AM

Do you remember the year Hallmark had the snowman playing the piano? I got 2 of those one Christmas and I had already bought one for myself. I gave one away, kept one and took one back. It wasn't that I didn't really like the piano playing snowman, because I do. I just didn't need three.

I get everything from homemade ornaments and goodies to gift certificates. All gifts are appreciated and I sometimes feel a little spoiled. I used to have an informal Christmas party where students could play their favorite Christmas carols. Some students would bring gifts, some would not. That was always awkward. The student would stand there wanting me to open the gift.

Grand Obsession is a great book and I think would be appreciated by any piano teacher.
Posted By: Diane...

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/12/09 03:21 PM

Think the secret to getting a piano teacher a good gift, is to ask!

Had one student who kept asking me and drilling me, about things I liked! So I told her some things I liked! Don't really know how she got this idea, but somehow she got the idea that I like sunglasses! So, she gave me a certificate for $50 to buy a pair of sunglasses at a store I had never heard of before. So, I go to this store, and the average price of sunglasses is $180!!!! Yikes! Did she seriously think I had $130 extra money just sitting around to spend on sunglasses?

Anyways, I asked the sales clerk if I could just have the cash, and she said, "no"! The clerk was very helpful, though, and did find me the cheapest sunglasses in the store that had been marked down from $100 to $53, so I took those! Now that I think about it, it was a good gift idea and I actually love them!

Would not suggest giving a teacher, that much of a gift, but asking about things "that" teachers likes is important! Personally, I like getting piano related gifts, but, all teachers have their own likes and dislikes, so asking is key!
Posted By: rada

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/12/09 04:14 PM

I love to buy music so maybe a gift certificate to a music store.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/23/09 07:59 PM

I would prefer a hardback book but only paperback books are available now.

mr. peabody, i know you wrote this was not a "shout out" but i do have a few hardcovers available and would be happy to sign one (or more) and ship to you.

PM me for the details.

thanks, everyone, for your kind words about "grand obsession."
Posted By: piqué

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/23/09 08:12 PM

p.s. you can also contact me through my website:

Posted By: Mr. Peabody

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/23/09 11:38 PM

I just wanted to thank everyone for a lot of ideas. This will be helpful as each year it becomes more difficult to come up with a gift. Just so you know, I also bake a whole bunch o' stollen (the German Christmas bread) and give them out as gifts to some of our neighbors, friends, and coworkers (and yes, to the piano teacher as well) each year for Christmas.

Mr. Peabody
Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/24/09 09:05 AM

You know what, I went to an authour talk and I decided to buy a book that he wrote. It was a paperback book and he signed it. When I started reading it I saw that it was far above my level of harmony and analysis ... I thought about wrapping it up to give to someone else but my name is signed in the book!

OK wrapping it up to give to someone else is skimpy as a gift, I am thinking of getting my teacher another gift certificate to a music store that he goes to buy music from. Same gift, impersonal but practical I suppose.

Today an ancient history class gave their teacher two buckets of whiteboard markers, an archeology set, the 300 spartan movie (they studied sparta) a framed painting (from an art student - the teacher remarked that she liked the painting) and a signed card from all the class. Now that is what giving is all about.
Posted By: TomW77

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/30/09 02:04 AM

Piano teachers do really enjoy gifts. In Chicago, I gave my daughter's piano teacher an experience gift from funsherpa - www.funsherpa.com. Her teacher absolutely raved about it. Basically, you buy a voucher for an experience your teacher enjoys, they ship a gift card to the teacher, and your teacher gets to enjoy experiences ranging from a spa massage to skydiving.

Good luck!
Posted By: Barb860

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/30/09 02:21 AM

I gave a music teacher friend of mine the Stephen Hough recordings, on CD, of the Hummel piano concertos. He loved it.
It's an amazing recording that was done in the 1980's and it's available at amazon.
One favorite gift I received as a piano teacher:
a wool scarf with a treble clef and music note design on it.
Really, though, there hasn't been a gift I didn't like from any of my students over the years.
Posted By: Lollipop

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/30/09 02:58 PM

One gift I would love to get is a magazine subscription. I like to have magazines available for parents to look at during lessons. The few we subscribe to aren't really of interest to general audiences, so I end up picking up a magazine or two at the grocery store now and then. Around here, our middle schools have magazine fund-raisers, and rather than have students coming here begging me to buy from them, I'd rather have a parent purchase something in my name as a gift. Their kid gets the fund-raising credit, and they get their Christmas shopping done, and I get something for my coffee table.

As an aside, I do get frustrated by all the fund-raisers. I hate telling kids no, and we used to have a policy that we'd buy from any kid who asked, but I'm getting hit over and over by the same students who sell for school, Brownies, football, cheerleading, etc.

However, something nice happened this week: one of my students handed me a coupon book for a local fastfood restaurant. No charge. Kid's football team was selling them, and rather than have the kid out hitting up friends and neighbors, mom bought a bunch and gave them as gifts.
Posted By: currawong

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 09/30/09 09:28 PM

Originally Posted by Lollipop
One gift I would love to get is a magazine subscription.
Now that is a good idea. I'd like that too - as long as it wasn't some which-movie-star-has-split-up-with-which kind of one smile. I'm thinking more Gramophone, or BBC Music Magazine, or Pianist, all of which I buy occasionally.

Originally Posted by Lollipop
However, something nice happened this week: one of my students handed me a coupon book for a local fastfood restaurant. No charge. Kid's football team was selling them, and rather than have the kid out hitting up friends and neighbors, mom bought a bunch and gave them as gifts.
Brilliant! She knows how to win friends rather than lose them!

One of the most useful gifts I ever received was a little wooden pencil-and-note-pad stand. To my shame, I can't now remember which kid gave it to me, but I've been using it for at least 20 years. Unlike John, I don't mind at all receiving coffee mugs - people in my house tend to be a bit careless and things get broken, so replacements are welcome smile
One of my adult students gives me great CDs - and, best of all, once gave me the complete Goon Shows in MP3 format. You have to be a Goon Show fan to realise how thrilling that was!
Posted By: musiclady

Re: Gift ideas for Piano Teacher - 10/04/09 03:08 PM

I love gift cards/gift certificates, I'm always buying music and music equipment (so a music store gift card/certificate I love), though I regularly visit Staples, Indigo, Sears, and HBC.

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