Musical gifts for Christmas

The true Spirit of Christmas is generosity, so what could be better than a lifelong gift of music. Children, particularly, can be inspired by gifts which stimulate their music learning.

Children love films, especially if there are a lot of catchy tunes and movement involved. There are CDs which outline in a fun way the lives of important composers which can be followed in book form. The ultimate gift is probably the opportunity for children to learn a musical instrument, which will instil in them a deep appreciation of music, as well as discipline, and assist in their cognitive development. Adults too can reward themselves with this gift of learning an instrument, it’s never too late and opens many other interesting avenues. Or, what about joining a choir?

Subscriptions to music societies are a wonderful gift, which is mutually beneficial, both for the recipient, as a gift which lasts a year, and for the society, as they receive funding to bring out top artists. In Cyprus, the Pharos Trust and the Ledra Music Soloists both offer annual memberships. If it’s ballet that you love, the newly formed professional company Dancecyprus would be ideal. There are also courses in music appreciation held by U3A, with the next starting in January in Paphos.

Movies for Children >
Mary Poppins >
About two unruly children, Jane and Michael and their new nanny, Mary Poppins, who transforms their lives of these of their busy parents. Songs in this film will delight children of any age.

The Sound of Music > The story of Maria, a young nun who left the convent and went to work as a governess to seven high-spirited children. Their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp is a naval officer who runs his family military style and they fall in love. Lots of beautiful timeless music this is a must.

The Wizard of Oz > The story of a Dorothy, whisked away from her hometown by a tornado and transported to a strange place called Oz. She meets strange creatures and finds some real friends along the way. A classic adventure filled with memorable tunes your child will love.

Annie > The classic story of a red-haired orphan girl named Annie, who sings of her dreams to break away from her life in the orphanage, run by a very strict matron. Annie wins over the affection of a billionaire, who eventually adopts her. The songs featured are catchy and adorable.

Singing in the Rain > A funny film with lots of lively song and dance numbers, with great characters and a hart-warming story the whole family can enjoy. An of course, the unforgettable song Singing in the Rain.

CDs for Children > From the First Discovery Series, these CDs come with a book which follows an easy version of the life and music of composers like Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Debussy. They are available at £10 from Partassides Music House in Nicosia.

Games for Children > Domino type game where the whole family can join in to match the sounds on separate blocks (glockenspiel).

Subscription Offers
Pharos Trust –
www.thepharostrust.org > £40 annual membership for individuals, with various packages for individual and corporate sponsors. Corporate sponsors receive TV advertising and can also pass their benefits to employees as additional perks, while widening the cultural circle. Discounts on concerts, books and CDs for individuals.

Ledra Music Soloists – www.ledramusic.org > £15 annual subscription to be a Friend, as well as Sponsorship opportunities, or even part of the Elite circle. Discounts on music, books, travel for Friends.

Dancecyprus – www.dancecyprus.com > £25 annual membership to be a Friend, with company and patron opportunities. Discounted tickets, email updates, and invitations to meet artists. Company Member (£200 yearly), Patron Member (£2,000 yearly), Benefactor or Corporate Member (£5,000 yearly).

Online Magazine subscriptions > For those who are computer literate, it is easy to join the mailing list of radio stations like ClassicFM, who send weekly newsletters about concerts and special offers as well as societies of classical music, opera and ballet.

Books > Here, the list is truly endless, if you have no idea about classical music, an easy and light-hearted approach to the subject is definitely the Dummies series, Classical Music for Dummies. Or if you want to increase your existing skills, why not study the scores while listening to the CD, these come in a pack and offer popular works such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Mozart 40 etc. With the internet, it is very easy to search and find almost any book you want, either new or second hand at greatly reduced prices.

CDs > For a Lifetime is a CD by Marilena Solomou, a young and extremely talented singer whose CD reflects a classical crossover genre. Easy and accessible listening making a perfect gift, available from All Records, Nicosia. My favourite website for classical music is www.hmv.co.uk where you can find box sets for incredible prices. Good recordings can be found with these box sets for 40 cents per CD. The best CDs for an introduction to classical music are compilations of excerpts covering a broad spectrum. 

DVDs > There are some wonderful DVDs which the whole family can enjoy, outlining aspects of specific composers, with their most well known works in the background. Handel, Bach, Rossini, Bizet and Johann Strauss available from Partassides Music House in Nicosia. Or, what about watching entire operas from the comfort of your home?

Instruments (based on prices from Partassides Music House) > Guitars > full size only and range in price from £30-£320. Mandolins > £75 and vary only in the decoration. Keyboard – from £100 for a full piano sized keyboard but an alternative could be to rent a piano. This eliminates large initial outlay. Woodwind instruments as well as brass instruments are also available.

Courses on Music > Pat Bates is beginning a new course in Paphos from January 2007 as part of the U3A programme and will take a light hearted look at “classical music” from Bach to Bernstein. It’s aimed at people interested in music and who would like to delve a little more deeply into the subject as well as be introduced to composers whom they might not otherwise have listened to. For further information, contact Pat Bates at batesgp@cytanet.com.cy or telephone at 99-922946.

Voluntary Work > If you are a musician, performing for those who are unable to go to concerts is very satisfying. What about arranging a concert at an old age home?

Radio > A portable radio makes a wonderful gift for young children and old alike. With the advent of television and the visual media, all too often the radio is forgotten but the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation offers classical music every day across its four radio channels. As you drive to work every morning, from 7-8am, tune into 88.2FM for an uninterrupted selection of the most popular classics. PMClassics on Channel 2 every weekday from 1.45pm-4pm. Programmes on Channel 1 (in Greek) every weekday from 9pm and Andreas Iacovides Monday to Saturday from 9.30am-10am.

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