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April 22, 2010 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me think of some simple gestures of appreciation for a friend who is giving me free music lessons.

A musician friend has been giving me guitar lessons. He specifically did not want to be paid, but I've been trying to bring him something small each time we get together as a token of appreciation. My default is baked goods, but that gets old and I am running out of ideas. He is in his early 60s, very educated, lives alone, obviously into music (mostly bluegrass and folk).

I'm looking for small things I could make him that would be either useful or a pleasant surprise for him when we meet. Food suggestions are okay, but preferably on the healthier side and freezable. Think simple, wholesome gestures: for example, if I had a tomato plant I would love to bring him tomatoes or a jar of home-made sauce (note to self: start tomato plants.)

Thanks for any suggestions. Our lessons have been really enriching for me and I just want to reciprocate in some small way.
posted by messica to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Best answer: Who says baked goods ever get old? Honestly. As someone who always gives free help and often gets baked goods in return, I'd say you're doing just fine.

Meanwhile, the best gift you can give him is to stick with the instrument, even if you stop taking lessons from him, and share your songs and recordings and joy of discovery with him at every opportunity. Musicians love what they do, and love to find out you're sharing in those feelings.
posted by davejay at 1:24 PM on April 22, 2010

Yes, definitely show your enthusiasm and maybe surprise him with a tape that you recorded of yourself playing a particularly difficult song that you mastered.

Healthier snacks: roasted nuts are delicious, especially with different kinds of spices.
posted by amicamentis at 1:39 PM on April 22, 2010

Since he is sharing his skill with you, why don't you share yours with him. Paint him a picture, bake him some goodies (seriously, can baked delights ever get tiresome?), offer to do some IT stuff for his home computer, whatever it is you are really good at. Seems like a fair trade!
posted by chatongriffes at 1:53 PM on April 22, 2010

What about tickets to some event in a music genre that he will like, and (if appropriate) go with him to that event? I'm thinking like a college performance or local coffee house event.
posted by CathyG at 2:15 PM on April 22, 2010

beer beer beer. or scotch. mmmm scotch.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:28 PM on April 22, 2010

Maybe a coupla of sets of his favorite strings? A gross of his favorite picks? Or some similar accessory that he goes through a lot.
posted by timsteil at 2:31 PM on April 22, 2010

seconding strings. some people (myself included) love elixir strings.

used books from the strand. if he's not too net/computer-friendly, maybe a mixtape of his favorite folk/bluegrass artists?
posted by kimyo at 6:14 PM on April 22, 2010

an avocado, a bunch of red grapes, a pint of local ice cream, local eggs, handmade soap, a small and weird kitchen tool like a paring knife with a crazay handle (always to be found at thrift stores), ball of twine, a puppy (just kidding)...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:06 PM on April 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for the great suggestions! Reading these responses made me really excited about continuing to share my musical progress with this very generous teacher and the innate satisfaction that will bring to both of us. Thanks, also, for the reassurance about the baked goods (got some muffins in the oven now). I like the idea of getting him some strings (I know which are his favorite) and local treats, as well as the great suggestion to go to a concert together. Thanks again, each of you was very helpful.
posted by messica at 1:05 PM on April 23, 2010

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