End-of-year student gifts (that won't break the bank)

This month has been all about getting ready for recital season & part of that may be giving gifts to your students or families.  There is something about giving families a thoughtful present that lets them know how much they are appreciated.

But with all the tasks involved in putting on a recital (let alone helping students prepare their repertoire beforehand), combined with end of year assessments/reviews, & keeping students engaged when they are more likely wanting to be outside … well, those gifts may just seem like more work than they are worth.

In my studio, the coveted jars of jams, jellies, & preserves has always been a big hit with students & their parents alike. Students eagerly open the gift bags at the end of the recital to see what goodies await them.  Since I take summers off to be home with my kids, it makes sense to prepare lots of preserves so our family has them on hand for all sorts of presents throughout the year.  This also means that this part of my recital planning is easy & quick.  To read more about this option, feel free to read “Recital Prep … the countdown!“.  However, even though I have a ready-to-go option for my families, I always like to have a little something extra that changes from year to year.

End-of-year student gifts (that won't break the bank)

End of year student gifts (that don’t break the bank)

What if you want ideas that don’t require months of advanced planning?  Not a problem.  Below are some great ideas for gifts that are homemade & look like you spent days & days prepping Martha Stewart-style … but in reality you only invested a couple hours.

Music related:

  • Sheet Music:  A great way to encourage students to practice over the summer & introduce them to something new!
  • Music Pencil with an acrostic poem:  We all need pencils when working with our music.  But, what if yours had a label with your name?  Write your students name vertically & write a characteristic for each letter of their name!


  • Word Cloud Keepsake:  I made these for my students a few years ago, printed them & put them in picture frames.  Many of them still sit by the piano to be enjoyed!
    • I used Tagul to make mine since I loved the idea of having the words in a specific music related shape.
  • Autograph Beach Ball:  I’ll admit I have never done this, but the moment I saw the idea a light bulb went off.  I will definitely use this a great end-of-recital activity for the kids!  Plus, it can be used throughout the summer over & over.  I can imagine a few of my students saying, “Yup.  I really am that famous!
  • Memories of the year:  While this one may take a bit more planning, if you have lots of photos & videos of your students this could be a great option.  Depending on what your students use will depend on how to get the project to your students.
    • CD or DVD … or flashdrive if you know they have a digital picture frame.
    • Online resource that they can download it from (your studio’s SoundCloud or  YouTube accounts) … most of my students & their parents have NO clue how to take the CD’s at the back of music books & transfer them to their computer or iPad (where they would actually use them).  Using a fully digital resource would be best in this case.

Food Items:

The caveat here is to find out about any student allergies or ingredients the family doesn’t eat for religious reasons.  For example, some families won’t eat foods with gelatin in them (like marshmallows) because of the ingredients used to make the gelatin.  You may need to look into alternatives (checking for vegan or allergy free options online tends to give great results) to keep with your theme.

Below are a whole bunch that have cute, pun-tastic, fun & easy-to-make labels that can be attached to the food items.  Feel free to make your own or buy ready made … it’s all up to you!

  • Baked Goodies:  If you like to bake, personalized cookies or other goodies could be a great option.  Or if you prefer, skip the personalization & make individual portions of something totally yummy.  One year, my students each got blueberry brownies baked into their own mini mason jars.  They raved about them for months & many a parent ended up asking for the recipe.
  • S’more Kit:  What can be more fun than hanging out at a fire pit?  S’Mores!  These were a big hit with my students last year since many were going camping in the weeks following our recital. For more details, read “Recital Prep … the countdown!“.
  • Little goldfish snacks or Swedish fish candies with a “Congratulations on Oh-Fish-Ally Playing in the Recital!” note:  (Modified from The Crafted Sparrow)
  • Cookies (homemade or bought) with “You are one smart cookie!” label.  (Modified from Create-Abilities)
  • Sour patch candies with “Not seeing your this summer might be kid of sour, but teaching you in the fall is going to be so sweet!”  (modified from The Crafted Sparrow)
  • Pop Rocks candy with “Have a Rockin’ Summer!” label. (Eleven Magnolia Lane)

Non-food gift ideas (that are also pun-tastic):

  • Frisbee with “This year FLEW by!  Have a fun summer!” label. (Happy Home Fairy)
  • Sidewalk Chalk with “Let’s chalk it up to an AMAZING year!” label. (Landee Lu)

What Are You Waiting For?

With so many easy & quick ideas, you’ll be able to prep those end of year gifts with time to spare.  Perhaps you may even be able to catch up on all those tv shows or podcasts you’ve put off in the past few weeks?

I would love to hear what you are giving your students (or their families) as an end of year gift.  Leave your ideas below!

Have a great weekend!

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