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One Gift Music Students Can Give This Holiday Season

The best gift music students can give this holiday season is the gift of their music.

2021 was my last Christmas with my Grandfather. It was also the last time he heard me play the piano.

Not knowing what to give him, at the age of 91 with dementia setting in and him still wearing the cloak of grief from the passing of my grandmother only a few months earlier, I gave him the gift of my music.

We sat in my parent's living room, with my mother's tablet connected to the TV. I pulled up a recording I had made a year before as a gift to another dear person in my life.

Then I nervously pressed "Play." The song, Carol of the Bells, arranged by George Winston.

I'm not sure why I was nervous. I had been sending performances of my piano playing to my grandparents since I was a child. Yet, I still was.

He jokingly commented on the repetitive notes I played in my right hand, "When are you going to change the pattern, Catherine." And make some other snarky remark I can't remember anymore.

From the smile I saw on his face, I knew that he enjoyed my playing.

His smile was the biggest gift to me. I'll never forget that moment.

That was the last time he saw me perform. The following year, his body began to decline rapidly due to an aggressively growing brain tumor.

Music was a big part of his life, as it was mine.

There have been times in my life when I haven't known what gift to give a loved one. I forget, sometimes, that my music can be one of the most intimate and special gifts I can give. Perhaps that's why I'm selective in who I share my music with. But that's beside the point.

The title of this essay is "One Gift Music Students Can Give This Holiday Season."

Perhaps from the story at the beginning of the essay, you can guess what I'm going to suggest.

Author, Catherine, with her Grandfather

The Best Gift Music Students Can Give: Their Own Music

Yes! The best gift music students can give this holiday season is the gift of their music.

Music is a gift! (to both the performer and the audience member, but more on that in a future essay Those who are studying an instrument, are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this gift-giving opportunity.

With the advances in technology these days, sharing your music is easier than ever.

Picture of presents and ornaments on Christmas greenery

How to Give the Gift of Music This Holiday Season

Here are a few ways your music-loving student can give the gift of music this holiday season:

1. Record an audio or video of your music student performing.

The music can be of the musician's choosing- holiday-themed or any repertoire they have prepared. Don't stress about this decision. We want the experience of both recording and receiving the recording to be enjoyable!

A simple cell phone can work great to record audio or video. Most phones have a basic audio recording app. You might want to experiment with how close the device is to the sound of your instrument for audio purposes. But remember, this recording does not have to be of professional-grade quality! Use what you have and it will be great!

(I used to record somehow onto cassette tapes! The audio on that must have been awful! But my grandparents still loved them!)

2. Upload the recording to an online platform.

You have several options when choosing a platform to host your audio or video content. Google Drive, Dropbox, and YouTube are all wonderful options. Through any of these options, you can create links with restricted access. This way your loved ones can benefit from your performance while maintaining your safety.

3. Share the link with your loved one through a QR Code.

Generate a free QR code and print it on a piece of paper. Then inserted into a greeting card. If you or your student is graphically talented, instead you could create a QR code through Canva and create a greeting card through that app!

Or you could simply share the link in an email or text message.

That's it! Easy Peasy!

Image of a woman holding a Christmas present in her hand wrapped in paper that says "Joy" and "Holly" in front of a Christmas tree

Joy in the Giving and Receiving

The gift recipient will be sure to enjoy the performance made with love, emotion, time, energy, skill, and passion. The gift giver (aka student musician) will be sure to enjoy the act of giving something from the heart (and free of cost!)

As a young person, can you imagine how empowering it would feel to be able to give a gift from your own resources instead of through the financial means of your parents! Akin to homemade gifts, though musical gifts have no tangible product, the sound of music will tickle the ears of the receivers and satisfy the heart of the musician.

I encourage you to present this idea to the budding musician in your home. If they like the idea, help facilitate the recording!

Oh, and this idea can be used year-round for other celebratory occasions!

Happy Holidays!


If learning the art of playing the piano so you can give your loved ones the gift of music, I would be honored to help in the journey.

It is my true delight to bring the joy of music into hearts and homes through personalized remote piano lessons that will leave you feeling inspired and accomplished.

The process is simple:

1. Schedule a call to talk about your goals.

2. Select a lesson time.

3. Take your first lesson!


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