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6 Outside-the-Box Gifts for Musicians

6 Outside-the-Box Gifts for Musicians

If you know anyone who can be considered a true musician, you know how quirky they can be. They’re always looking for some new way to make music, and will experiment with pretty much anything at their disposal as long as it allows them to be creative. Luckily, the Internet is full of instruments and products that allow musicians to express themselves through notes, chords, and…sometimes, plain noise.

Digital Audio Workstation

A digital audio workstation, such as FL Studio, is a way to “compose, arrange, record, edit, mix, and master professional quality music” on your own personal computer if you are a musician. Though a bit pricey, these workstations can help take recreational musicians to the next level in their playing. DAWs can be used by bands working toward cutting their first CD, or DJs looking to get their dubstep mixtape heard. Just be sure not to bother them while they’re recording.

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Kaleidoloop

Sometimes music isn’t just about notes on a scales; it’s about appreciating the sounds all around you. Enter Critter & Guitari’s Kaleidoloop. This little gadget collects sounds all around you, allowing you to record and store them as you go. With over three hours of recording time built into the memory card, a musician can store thousands of sound clips and bites, from the birds singing outside your window to the crackling of a campfire. With Kaleidoloop, you can “invent new musical games,” and “explore new harmonies” at all times.

Electric Thumb Piano

For the musician in your life that always breaks out the weirdest instruments you’ve ever seen, check out these cedar thumb pianos. If they look primitive (except for the whole amplifier jack thing), that’s because they’re based on the mbira, an African instrument invented thousands of years ago. You might not see much use in the small instrument outside of a novelty, but your musically-inclined friend will definitely find a way to sneak it into his next recording.

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Travel Acoustic Guitar

There have been many times in my life in which I wanted to bring my acoustic guitar to a party or campout, but simply didn’t have space in my trunk to store it. The Martin Steel-String Backpacker Acoustic Guitar makes those worries a thing of the past. It’s slender frame allows it to fit in the tiniest of spaces, and its lightweight body makes it easy to lug around. However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound good. As it is meant for travel and outdoors play, it promises “strong intonation” and durability. I probably don’t have to warn you of this, but just don’t mistake it for firewood.

Theremini

You may have heard of the theremin, the instrument you play without actually touching it. The Moog Theremini makes playing the theremin a little less complicated, and provides “new ways to experiment with music, education, and gestural control.” It includes a built-in tuner, so the player can see not only what note he’s playing, but how perfect his pitch is. it also comes with a built-in speaker, but also can be plugged into an amplifier.

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Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Okay, this last gift might be more for the person giving it than the one receiving it. If you purchased any of the gifts on this list for a significant other or family member who you happen to live with, you might also want to invest in a pair of Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones. They provide full sound, while virtually eliminating any outside noise – even when not playing music. Bose makes specific models for Apple or Android products, and with a small adapter jack they can be plugged into most amplifiers as well. Or, you could buy them for yourself while your friend rocks out.

Featured photo credit: Weird Al Yankovic in Las Vegas / michaelbwelch / flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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