Best of Northern Kentucky – Florence

Are you looking for the best place in Northern Kentucky? Look no further!

Best Of NKY Willis Banner

Willis Music Florence was just named the TOP place to take Music Instruction by the folks at NKY Magazine! We want to thank everyone who voted for us. We have worked for years to partner with the best teachers in the area and to make sure every student is getting the most meaningful music experience. Music is so much fun and we love that we share that every day!

Denise, Cody, and Colleen had a great time at the Best of NKY event, so check out these awesome pictures.

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Check out all of our amazing teachers HERE!

 

Willis Music Company Chosen For Top 100 Music Stores In America

NAMM National Association of Music Merchants Top 100 2016 Willis Music

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently chose Willis Music Company for the final selection of 2016’s Top 100 Dealer Awards. The NAMM website elaborates, “Each Top 100 submission was reviewed by an independent panel of judges and numerically rated across categories that included customer service, music advocacy, store design and promotions and were scored in accordance to determine the Top 100 list, the category winners, and the overall award, Dealer of the Year.” (NAMM)

We would like to thank our customers and staff here at Willis Music for their continued support, allowing us to achieve this prestigious nomination. We pride ourselves on giving our very best to our customers and music community and we are very honored to be part of the Top 100.

 

Former Willis Student Hits Broadway!

If you were not aware Willis Music has a pretty awesome lesson program. We have teachers at every location ready to teach your child or even you to play! Noah Ricketts I am sure you are wondering what kind of lessons we offer? Everything from vocal lessons to Euphonium! You can check out the list of teachers here! We have some pretty talented kids in our lessons program and we love celebrating their accomplishments. There is one guy in particular we are highlighting! Noah Ricketts took piano lessons with Willis Music when he was 10 years old. All of his hard work paid off. Noah performs on Broadway now! That is pretty awesome! We got a chance to catch up with Noah recently. Check out what he has to say!

1. Where did you attend school and what did you study?

Well, I’ve attended a couple schools. I started in my hometown of Louisville, KY at the Youth Performing Arts School studying Vocal Performance. When I was a junior in high school I decided that I needed more from my artistic education, so I took a leap and moved to Northern Michigan. There I studied Theatre at a private performing arts boarding school called Interlochen Arts Academy, beautifully nestled in the woods. After that it was time for college. I moved back towards my home state and landed in Ohio, where I earned my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (better known as CCM).

2. How old were you when you started taking music lessons?

I was 10 years old when I began taking private piano lessons. Before that, I was studying clarinet and saxophone in my elementary and middle school band classes.

3. What were your dreams regarding music when you started lessons at Willis Music?

I’m not really sure what my dreams were. I remember walking into Willis Music at my local mall and seeing a woman play vigorously on the piano. I remember standing there totally obsessed with everything she was doing and itching to learn how to do it myself. I was totally enthralled with music at a young age but at that time I didn’t even realize that a career in music was even a possibility. By the way, her name was Janie and she later became my piano teacher and life long friend.

4. When did you realize performing arts was the career path for you?

Around the same time that I started taking piano lessons at Willis Music, my mother enrolled me in a summer program called Broadway Bootcamp. I was 10 years old and in a arm cast from a skateboarding accident. We were performing “School House Rock” and I was given the song “Conjunction Junction”. I remember being so nervous, but the spotlight hit and I was totally in it. All of my nerves turned into energy and I sang my heart out. It was at that exact moment that I realized that performing was what I had to do with my life. I had no other option.

5. What is the best advice Janie gave you when you took lessons with her? Noah Performing on Broadway

Janie gave me advice all throughout my life, even into the early stages of my career so,it’s hard to pick a singular lesson. But the biggest gift I received from her was the gift of creativity. She was constantly challenging me to think outside the box and break down walls that were in my way. It was a life lesson that has gone way beyond the confines of that Willis Music studio.

6. What musicals have you been in?

A lot of them. But a couple of my favorite roles are Terk in “Tarzan” , Javert in “Les Miserables” , and C.C. in “DREAMGIRLS”. To name a few!

7. What is your favorite musical?

My favorite musical is “Little Shop of Horrors”. I’ve been obsessed with the musical movie since I was a kid. The puppetry, music, and characters are all amazing. If you haven’t seen it, check it out!

8. What is it like living and working in New York?

Living and working in NYC is extremely challenging yet thrilling. Everyone is on a mission. If you’re putting up with the madness that is New York City, it’s for a good cause. It truly is the city of dreams. So waking up everyday knowing that your life could change at the drop of a hat is extremely exciting.

9. What was the biggest adjustment to make moving to a big city like New York?

For me it was my first job. About 6 weeks into living in NYC I was offered a job on broadway in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. I was extremely honored and at the same time slightly overwhelmed. I barely knew my way around the city and the next thing I know, I’m performing in a broadway show after four days of rehearsal. Although it was a crazy time in my life, it taught me a lot about time management and learning on the go. That’s what I mean about your life changing at the drop of a hat! Noah performing

10. What advice would you give kids who are just starting out playing music?

If you love it, don’t give up. It’s a hard journey, but every day will get a little easier and in return you will only become stronger.

11. What is your biggest dream right now?

My biggest dream right now is to originate a role in a television series/movie. It’s a new aspect of the arts that I’m interested in diving into. So I’m excited to get into class and get the ball rolling!

So, what are you waiting on? Start playing today and follow your dream!

headshot of kevin cranley

What’s kept us going for 117 years?

Recital at MTNA Headquarters in Cincinnati

My wife Debbi and I were honored to attend a very special event this past Friday in Cincinnati.  Recently, MTNA moved into a beautiful new headquarters in Cincinnati. The offices were most recently occupied by a Cincinnati law firm and are richly decorated.  Gary Ingle (MTNA CEO) and Brian Shepard (MTNA COO) were approached by the landlord to take an additional space at an extremely attractive price.  While not in the original plans, Brian and Gary envisioned a recital hall where pianists could perform and music lovers could enjoy live piano performances.  After securing the room, they approached longtime partners Steinway and Sons, and Willis Music about securing a piano for the space.  Steinway and Sons supplied the piano and Willis took care of the delivery which was a challenge in itself.  Their offices are in the PNC tower which when built in 1913 was the fifth tallest tower in the world.  The only problem with this beautiful historic building is that it doesn’t have freight elevators and the passenger elevators are extremely small.  We carefully measured and determined that we could fit a Steinway and Sons Model S. Regardless of our careful measurement our fingers were crossed on the day of the move and it went off without a hitch.

This inaugural concert was held in conjunction with the MTNA Board of Directors Meeting with board members and friends present.  Steinway Artist and CCM Eminent Scholar, James Tocco performed and certainly showed off all this beautiful piano is capable of.  He entertained everyone in attendance with not only his music but entertaining stories about the music he chose.

Steinway and Sons and Willis Music were pleased to be asked by MTNA to partner in bringing another live music venue to MTNA members and the music community of Greater Cincinnati.

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Pictured:  (L to R) Gary Ingle, MTNA; Rebecca Grooms Johnson, MTNA; Kevin Cranley, Willis Music; James Tocco, CCM; Sally Coveleskie, Steinway and Sons; Peter Landgren, CCM; Darren Marshall, Steinway and Sons

Flute Player Sidelined with Concussion!

OK, so I did a google search for this seemingly ridiculous headline and found nothing so I made it up. Concussions have become a serious concern in sports and I’m pleased the subject is getting it’s due attention.  But what I want to talk to you about is what always seems to be the topic when it comes to budget problems in our schools.  When cuts are made do we cut band or sports.  Unfortunately many times band seems to get the short end of the funding stick.  This article points out what most of us have known for years.  Involvement in music is vital to the total education of our children.  I know you will enjoy the article as I did and I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

 

Education Week
Published Online: June 23, 2015
COMMENTARY
Football or Music? What’s the Best K-12 Investment?
By John R. Gerdy

 

In a perfect world, all high school activities would be fully funded. But to educators struggling to find the financial means to establish and pay for educational priorities, it is clear that we do not live in a perfect world.

Today’s schools are subjected to growing pressures from increased academic standards and the expectation that they will provide all of their students with an education worthy of the 21st century. These demands must be met, moreover, in a climate of sharply declining resources. The world is changing at breathtaking speed, and the challenges inherent in responding to that change are daunting. So, too, are the economic stresses on schools.

All that being the case, communities and school boards have to be more open, honest, thoughtful, and strategic in considering how to allocate scarce educational resources. When program cuts are necessary, priorities must be set and difficult choices made. Traditionally, one choice has been between fielding elite athletics programs and maintaining enriching programs in the arts—with the arts usually being the first to suffer. Because the challenges and funding gaps for schools will only increase, such decision making will become more and more difficult.

In such an environment, the fundamental question we should ask about program funding is this:
Which activities produce the best educational return on investment? And the first principle in making such decisions should be clear: We can no longer afford to sponsor activities based only on anecdotal evidence of benefit, or simply because we have always done so, or because a particular activity’s “lobby” screams the loudest.

The decisions also must be made with the recognition that the American economy has changed from one based on industrial might to one driven by technology, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. Simply put, every issue the nation faces, whether relating to health care, the environment, or geopolitics, bears the stamp—and holds the complexity—of an increasingly fast-paced and interconnected world. There is no way to effectively meet the challenges wrought by change and complexity without developing in our people greater creativity, social adaptability, and the ability to think more broadly and with greater depth.

What does this mean for decision making on priorities and funding? First, we must rethink the criteria we use. For too long, educators have relied primarily on personal experiences and anecdotal evidence in making decisions about extracurricular programs. That is no longer enough. Decisions must also be driven by fact, data, and research. Fortunately, there is a growing research base on the impact of both football and music on student learning and engagement, brain function, academic environment, and health (both individual and public) to draw on.

Because a more thorough understanding of the wide range of issues surrounding these activities is imperative, I recently conducted a return-on-investment analysis of the effectiveness as educational tools of football
(because it consumes by far the most resources of school athletic departments) and music
(because it is the arts-program component with which I am most familiar).

The purpose was clear and simple: to present a thoughtful, thorough, and clear-eyed assessment of the relative value of football versus music programs in providing students with learning experiences most suited to the 21st century.

As a life-long athlete and musician who believes in the power of both sports and music to change people’s lives, this investigation has been a long and, at times, disconcerting journey. But here’s where my experience and the data have led.

There are several areas—student engagement; development of positive character traits such as self-discipline, teamwork, and personal responsibility; and capacity to bring people together to build community—in which both football and music have similar positive impacts. There is little, if any, difference, for example, between the sacrifices made, lessons learned, and effort required as a sports-team member whose goal is winning games and a band member who is working to achieve a particular “sound.”

But from there, the similarities mostly end. When considering the broadest impact on education over the longest period of time, music programs are far superior to football programs in return on dollars invested.

Consider music’s pluses: the capacity to be a lifelong participatory-learning activity (football, for all but a select few, ends after high school); the fact that music is a universal language (football is uniquely American); its gender inclusiveness; a far lower cost-per-student ratio; the potential it offers as an essential platform for international and interdisciplinary studies; and its effectiveness in strengthening the brain’s neural activity and development (versus the possibility, if not the likelihood, of sustaining brain trauma). Finally, the effectiveness of sports as an educational tool has been steadily diminishing as athletic programs have become more about the end result—winning—and less about the process (learning).

Given contemporary social and economic realities, many have questioned the wisdom of continuing to teach with curricular offerings and methods more suited to the industrial needs of the 20th century. Would it not also be wise to question the activities we sponsor at schools in light of current needs? Are we sacrificing in budget battles and narrowed thinking the most effective tools in our educational arsenal for teaching creativity? I believe we are. Music produces results much more in sync with a creative, information-based global economy and world community.

This is not to say that football does not have a place in our society. It does. Rather, the question is whether that place should continue to be within our education system.

In the end, the dialogue about these funding decisions must be more thorough, reasoned, honest, and data-driven. With increased expectations and decreased resources comes a smaller margin for error. We have to make every dollar count.

When dealing with the programs and activities that add so much to the human dimension of learning, we need the courage and commitment to go where logic, truth, Visit Opinion. and data take us. Despite the fact that some of the answers to our sports-versus-arts conundrum may be uncomfortable or inconvenient, educators should welcome the discussion. If we approach it honestly, the end result will be better schools, serving our children and communities more effectively. Isn’t that what we all want and what our nation needs?

John R. Gerdy is the founder of the nonprofit educational organization Music For Everyone, in Lancaster, Pa., and the author of Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment. He can be reached at JohnGerdy.com.

Give The Gift of Music

 

Have you started thinking of Christmas presents yet? Do you have ideas for everyone on your list? Music Lessons should be on the top of that list. Giving the gift of music is something that can last a lifetime. We have great teachers at all of our locations who are ready to help give that gift. Visit us online or in-store to sign up today!

 


 

 

Monica Gale Heard- Lexington KY

DMA Vocal Performance (abd), The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL MMA Vocal Performance, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL Bachelor of Arts, Vocal Performance, Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY Bachelor of Arts, Piano Performance, Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY Lecturer/Instructor Berea College Berea, Kentucky 1997 – 2009 Teaching Responsibilities: Applied Voice Class Voice Applied Piano Class Piano General Studies Lecturer General Studies – Freshman Writing/Critical Thinking Aural Harmony Diction Staff Vocal Coach-Accompanist Conductor – The Berea College Women’s Chorus Academic Adviser Additional information regarding teaching career available upon request. First United Methodist Church Richmond, Kentucky July 2003 – September 15, 2014 Responsibilities: (part-time 2003 – May, 2009) Assistant Minister of Music and Worship Organist/Pianist/Keyboardist Traditional, Blended and Contemporary Worship services Leadership of Praise Band and Praise Team Three choir rehearsals per week Budgeting Repertoire selection Responsibilities: (full-time June, 2009 – September, 2014) Director of Music Ministries Oversee the Music Ministry of a large United Methodist Church Plan traditional, blended and contemporary services each week Conduct choir and praise team rehearsals each week Coordinate children’s choir programs Work with and coordinate volunteers Plan and facilitate at least two major productions each year Oversee large hand bell choir Maintain choral library and purchase as needed Organist/Pianist for all services Funerals/Weddings Report directly to the Pastor Other duties as necessary – please ask Additional information regarding church music career available upon request. Private Studio 1981 – present Teaching Responsibilities: Private Voice Lessons Private Piano Lessons Private instruction in Theory Recital coaching/accompanying Audition prep/accompanying

Click here to sign up today!


 

Chris Sherman- Eastgate OH

Chris Sherman has been teaching both bass guitar and guitar lessons for over 10 years. He was recently featured at the 2014 London Bass Guitar Show, to lead a master class in bass guitar. Also known professionally as ‘Freekbass’, he has three internationally released instructional DVDs. “Learn to play Funk Bass Level 1 & 2” by The RockHouse Method, and “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know”, produced by TrueFire.com. TrueFire is now preparing to release a second Freekbass instructional DVD, entitled, “Funktronic Groove Construction”. Chris/Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Although known by many as a bassist, Chris is also an accomplished guitarist and guitar teacher with a strong technique, groove, and theory background.

Click here to sign up today!


 

Brenda Mendenhall- West Chester OH

I have a Bachelor of Music degree from Miami University and am a certificated music teacher with the Ohio Department of Education. I also have a Master of Science degree in school counseling and I am a retired licensed school counselor. I have been teaching piano/keyboard lessons at Willis-Moeller Music since 1989. My lessons focus on necessary piano/keyboard basics and music or styles of interest to each student. I work with students aged 6 through adult years. Technology apps, white board work, and movement are also used to engage the younger students and assist with music development.

Click here to sign up today!


 

Matt Mauro- Kenwood OH

Matthew Mauro (piano and French horn) earned his Master of Music degree in 2014 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Matthew has performed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Ohio), and as a soloist with the Toledo and Stow Symphony Orchestras. He has also attended reputable summer music festivals, including the Round Top Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center. Matthew’s primary piano teachers include Luke Bartolomeo and Ryan Behan; he has also worked with internationally renowned pianist, Lambis Vassiliadis, in masterclass settings. His primary horn teachers include Randy Gardner (Professor of Horn at CCM), Elizabeth Freimuth (Principal Horn, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Richard Deane (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). Matthew is currently the Music Director at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Anderson, Ohio, where he is the pianist for all traditional worship services and leads the choir and youth music ensemble. He is also a piano instructor at the Cincinnati Country Day School and teaches many students privately. Additionally, Matthew has enjoyed success in music composition. He was recently commissioned by the Worthington Kilbourne band program to write a piece for the Wind Symphony to premiere at the National Band and Orchestra Clinic in Carnegie Hall in April 2012. He has also had works for band published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company. Two of his pieces, “As They Return” and “Freeing Aurora,” earned finalists status in semi-annual Frank Ticheli Competition contests. PHILOSOPHY Music education is an incredibly important part of a young person’s life. Musical study helps to cultivate the ‘whole person,’ and there are countless studies that show music’s positive impacts on other academic areas. I have two primary goals for students in their lessons. First, they must enjoy playing music! A passion for playing will drive expression and improvement in performance skills more than anything else.

Click here to sign up today!


 

Mia Smith- Florence KY

Instructor at Willis Music since August, 2004 Mia has a great love for music and people and utilizes her gifts and talents to help her students reach their potential quickly. • Graduate of Central High School, Cincinnati, Ohio • Studied Music 10 Years with Prof. Frank Mahler, Saint Francis of Assissi • Managed her own piano studio for 5 ½ years in Knoxville, TN • Pianist for 9 ½ years at Valley Dale Baptist in Alabama • Teaches all styles of piano – classical, jazz, pop, contemporary Christian • Taught at Keyboard Plus for 5 ½ years in Florida • Currently serving as pianist and music minister for United Methodist in Latonia

Click here to sign up today!


 

 

Unmatched Value In A Steinway-designed Piano

25th Anniversary Savings

Up to $2,500 Instant Rebate

Make an appointment or just stop in to view and play a Boston Piano:

    • Willis Music Kenwood
      8118 Montgomery Rd.
      Cincinnati, OH 45236
      513.252.0445
    • Willis Music Florence
      7567 Mall Rd.
      Florence, KY 41042
      859.525.6050

The Steinway-designed Boston piano is long unrivaled in its class and unmatched in value. Employing the unique patents and expertise that have made the Steinway name synonymous with musical excellence, Boston pianos offer the pedigree of Steinway engineering with the accessibility of a mid-priced piano.

Now, for a limited time, you can save up to $2,500 with an instant rebate on any new Steinway-designed Boston upright or grand piano in stock.* It’s all part of the celebration as we kick off Boston’s 25th Anniversary Year.

*Not applicable with any other offer. Piano must be in stock and purchased by 11/30/2015.

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Features of the Boston Piano – Designed by Steinway & Sons

Kentucky State Marching Finals 2015

Willis Music would like to congratulate all the marching bands that participated in the State Marching Band competition and those whom placed.

High school marching bands from throughout the state competed at the Kentucky Music Educators Association State Marching Band Championships on Saturday in Bowling Green.

The five divisions and their final standings are:

    • 1A:
      • 1st: Beechwood
      • 2nd: Murray
      • 3rd: Williamstown
      • 4th: Hazard
    • 2A:
      • 1st: Estill County
      • 2nd: Garrard County
      • 3rd: Glasgow
      • 4th: Washington County
    • 3A:
      • 1st: Adair County
      • 2nd: Bourbon County
      • 3rd: Russell County
      • 4th: Boyle County
    • 4A:
      • 1st: Grant County
      • 2nd: Madisonville North Hopkins
      • 3rd: Anderson County
      • 4th: Hopkinsville
    • 5A:
      • 1st: Madison Central
      • 2nd: North Hardin
      • 3rd: Paul Laurence Dunbar
      • 4th: Lafayette

“Why Take Lessons?”

Last night, I found myself sitting in a crowd of young people, ready to play the piece they had prepared for the Halloween recital. Seeing young people get up there and play is a great experience. There was even a young girl who composed her own Halloween song! And even more, I noticed the pride of the parents and grandparents who were there to see their children play. So I got to thinking, how do we get more parents to see the benefit of music education? So of course, I went straight to Google. I found myself reading all sorts of articles about the benefits of music making in young people. I’d like to share with you the article that I found on The Metropolitan School of The Arts Website. They list “14 Reasons Everyone Should Take Music Lessons”. I hope you find this list as interesting as I did.

Colleen Cranley
Education Coordinator

1. INCREASE YOUR IQ
According to an article from The Telegraph online magazine, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.” There is continually more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. Some studies show that playing an instrument can increase your IQ up to 7 points.
2. INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF YOUR MEMORY
Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory. A study was done in which 22 children from age 3 to 4 years old were given either singing lessons or keyboard lessons. A control group of 15 children received no music lessons at all. Both groups participated in the same preschool activities. The results showed that preschoolers who had weekly keyboard lessons improved their spatial-temporal skills 34 percent more than the other children. Not only that, but researchers said that the effect lasted long-term.
3. INCREASE MATHEMATICAL ABILITY
Reading music requires counting notes and rhythms and can help your math skills. Also, learning music theory includes many mathematical aspects. Studies have shown that students who play instruments or study the arts are often better in math and achieve higher grades in school than students who don’t.
4. IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION
According to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” It’s not surprising to hear results like that because music involves constant reading and comprehension. When you see black and white notes on a page, you have to recognize what the note name is and translate it to a finger/slide position. At the same time, you also have to read what rhythms the notes are arranged in and force your tongue to produce the correct pattern
5. BUILD SELF CONFIDENCE
Overcoming musical challenges that you thought you’d never quite master can give you a great sense of pride. When you first start learning how to play an instrument, it seems like just holding a note for a couple beats or hitting a high pitch is an amazing accomplishment. Many small successes will eventually breed long term, innate self-confidence.
6. REDUCE STRESS & BE HAPPY!
Listening to and playing music can promote stimulation to areas of the brain that promote increased joy and decreased stress. During the past decade, the investigation correlation between music and the brain has proven that music can modulate activity in parts of the brain that are known to be crucially involved in emotion. The potential of music to modulate activity in these structures has important implications for the use of music in the treatment chronic stress.
7. ENHANCE HAND EYE COORDINATION
The art of playing an instrument requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. By reading musical notes on a page, your brain subconsciously must convert that note into specific motor patterns while also adding breathing and rhythm to the mix.
8. LEARN PERSEVERANCE & SELF DISCIPLINE
Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort, which teaches patience and perseverance. Musicians have to work through difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly. Practicing often and working on the hard parts requires perseverance. The best musicians in the world are masters of discipline.
9. INCREASE COOPERATION
Cooperation is an important aspect of being successful in life. Playing an instrument requires you to work with others to make music. In band and orchestra settings you must learn how to cooperate with the people around you. Also, in order for a group to make beautiful music, each player and section must learn how to listen to each other and play together.
10. LEARN RESPONSIBILITY
Maintenance and care are very important in keeping an instrument in working condition. Each instrument has different procedures to keep it functioning properly, but most instruments need cleaning and some form of oiling/greasing. In addition to maintenance responsibilities, there are other aspects such as remembering music events (like rehearsals and performances) and making time to practice.
11. LEARN CULTURAL HISTORY
Music reflects history and gives us insight on what it was like to live in the era and geography of its creation. Each piece of music has a unique history that is explored upon learning it. The more diverse your musical knowledge is, the more informed you are about a variety of cultures, eras and geographic influences that shape the art form as we know it today.
12. BOOST LISTENING SKILLS
Playing an instrument requires you to listen very carefully. You have to learn to hear when you’re playing a wrong note in order to correct yourself. Tuning your instrument means hearing if the pitch you’re playing is high (sharp) or low (flat). When playing in an ensemble, you have to listen for the melody and play softer if you’re the supporting part (accompaniment). Training listening skills teaches us how to be reflective and thoughtful.
13. ENHANCE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Air is one of the key components in making music. In order to play music correctly when playing an instrument (or sing music with your voice), you’ll need to take huge breaths and learn how to expel the air properly to make the desired sound. Breathing exercises are highly recommended for musicians, and they can strengthen your respiratory system.
14. MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS
When you become a musician or a vocalist, you become a part of a bigger community. Not only is it fun to play music that you enjoy, but it feels wonderful to join together with others to create a unified sound. Friendships and relationships are strengthened through common interests and artists typically find that their most meaningful (and longest lasting) relationships are found through those they meet through the sharing their art form.

“The Sound of Learning: 14 Reasons Everyone Should Take Music Lessons – Metropolitan School of the Arts.” Metropolitan School of the Arts. N.p., 27 July 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

UC Blue Ash College Songwriting Contest Sponsored By Willis Music

Contest Requirements and Other Information

  • Open to college and high school students in the Greater
    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.
  • Any theme, subject, or style is acceptable*
    Participants may submit up to three songs, performed by the songwriter or another group.
  • Songs must be submitted in both recorded form (.mp3, etc.) and typewritten form (lyrics only). On a separate page, type your song(s) title(s), your name, address, phone number, email address, and school or university affiliation. Name the performer(s) if other than you.
  • Deadline: December 7, 2015. Winners will be announced in March and will be invited to perform their work in March as a part of the UC Blue Ash Poetry Cafe. Winning lyrics will be published in the Blue Ash Review, the college literary magazine.
  • Submit entries online at: ucblueash.edu/songwritingcontest
    Questions: rhonda.pettit@uc.edu

*Note Well:
Songs will be judged anonymously by UC Blue Ash faculty for quality of lyrics, music, and the interplay between the two. Judges are not obligated to select winners if none are forthcoming. Judges’ decisions are final. Song submission materials will not be returned. Submissions not following the contestant requirements will not be considered. We cannot accommodate large and excessively loud bands at the Poetry Café. If you submit a non-acoustic song (heavy metal, garage, indie, punk, etc.), plan on performing an acoustic version of your song. Contestant participation grants UC Blue Ash the right to publish work in the Blue Ash Review (print and online editions; all rights revert to authors) and use contestant names and work to promote Poetry Month events.

Gemeinhardt and Willis Music Present PROJECT Trio

PROJECT Trio is a passionate, high energy chamber music ensemble comprised of three composer/performers from Brooklyn, New York. Blending classical training with an original sound and masterful performing skills. PROJECT Trio engages audiences of all ages by combining classical repertoire with elements of hip-hop and popular music, bridging the gap between high art and pop culture. They have been viewed more than 80 million times on YouTube and have been featured on NPR, MTV, and have played along side the St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and schools across the country.

It was our pleasure to host PROJECT Trio last week at CCM, NKU, Winton Woods High School and Walnut Hills High School. They bring with them the importance of music education as well as stories of their many experiences. With the help of Gemeinhardt we gave a flute to both high schools and did a drawing for a piccolo at both CCM and NKU. We want to congratulate all the winners and thank PROJECT Trio for two days of great music, great ideas and a lot of fun!

Thanks for listening and CHECK THESE GUYS OUT!

14th Annual Warehouse Sale

I recall last year talking to a customer who has marked this sale on her calendar for years to come. It’s always the weekend before Thanksgiving. She thanked me for keeping this tradition going and said this is the one sale she looks forward to each year. In a world where sales, discounts or even free items don’t mean that much anymore, it’s good to know that people appreciate this sale for what it is.

It all started 14 years ago when we were trying to find an innovative way to get rid of older scratch and dent items and discontinued products. We thought we would try having a sale at our main warehouse in Florence. My Father built this building in 1969 and it was later expanded. From here we manage all our stores and our publishing business, which is international. Over the years the sale has expanded, but the concept remains the same. We did have some difficulty early on because the industrial park we are in did not allow sales to retail customers. We had to get special permission but now after 13 years I think the other members of the industrial park look forward to the sale.

This year the merchandise for the sale includes not only pieces from our stores, but from manufacturers who recognize this sale as an opportunity to move items they have sitting around. Just last week we received 8 skids from a guitar and accessory manufacturer. We have merchandise from music stores that we bought or stores that went out of business. We have band instruments from our rental program that we have taken out of our rental pool. One particular band director from Indiana comes in each year to replenish his inventory for his students. He buys instruments with small dents or cosmetic problems and fixes them up himself.

Last year we added free hot dogs and drinks on Saturday, we’ll repeat that. Many of you have been here before so you know to park around the back of the building and come on in. I’ll be there and look forward to seeing many of you. Click here for details or call 859-283-2050.

Take a look at some of the pictures and videos from last year.

Say hello to Judy, she loves getting away from her desk for 3 days.
The deals are so good that Willis Employees and Teachers make time to find some deals.
Anna Marie loves this sale so much we have to bring her lunch to her.
Don’t miss out! Be one of these people.
Behind the scene setup.
What to expect.

Kids Got Talent Contest 2015

Does your child have a musical talent that you brag about every chance you get? Great! Enter them into our Kids Got Talent Facebook contest!

Here are the contest guidelines (the boring stuff!):

  • How to enter: Take a video of your child showing their music skills and then submit it at facebook.com/WillisMusicCompany. Make sure to take the video sideways!
  • How to win: Now we get to the good stuff! The Video with the most “Likes” is the winner and that child will get a $50 Willis Music gift card!
  • Where: facebook.com/WillisMusicCompany
  • When: November 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015 at 8 AM
  • Who: Anyone between the ages 0-18!
  • In the event of a tie the $50 will be split between all winners.

    Here are some of the awesome entries from last years contest if you need some ideas!
    Here is one of our winners Cooper, age 7.

    This was our other winner Joseph, age 15.

    This is Hattie, age 7 1/2 playing cripple creek.

    As you can see we had some truly talented kids enter the contest last year. We can’t wait to see your kid’s musical talent. Get that phone out and start recording!

    Laura Barrowman

New Teacher Alert

Here at Willis Music we are always excited to add new teachers to our education program. Here are a few of our teachers to consider when choosing the teacher that is right for you. To sign up for lessons now, click here.

Jason Easter
West Chester Location

We are very excited to have Jason aboard. His love for the trumpet is evident in everything he does. He has taught at this location before with the Moeller Music Company, and is excited to be back. “I attended Miami University and Wright State university for a double performance major in voice and trumpet. I had moved to New York briefly and played with several salsa, jazz and funk bands in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I have experience teaching beginners as well as junior high school and high school level private lessons.”

To sign up for lessons with Jason, click here.

Deborah Hodge
Lexington Location

Deborah is a great find here in the Lexington location. Here experience really speaks for itself. “Hi, I am Dr. Deborah Hodge, and though I have resided in New York for about 25 years, I am a native of Lexington, Kentucky. I am a certified music teacher and I recently relocated back to Lexington after teaching music in New York for a numbers of years. I also taught music for approximately 10 years in the Fayette County School District. My teaching experience includes vocal, instrumental (band and orchestra), keyboarding (recording), and marching band (Assistant and Director). I have taught on both the elementary and secondary levels.

To sign up for lessons with Deborah, click here.

Turkey Foot’s Mrs. Bromley wins KMEA District Award

Band of the Month…

Turkey Foot Middle School Band Under the Direction of Mrs. Jana Bromley!

The Administration in the Kenton County School District really understands the importance of music in their students lives and take that understanding and put it into action. In this District Band is a co-curricular activity, in that it is a class that meets daily during the regular school day, but also offers many opportunities for students to perform outside of school. This is not the norm in most of our Districts which offer Band either before school or after school and see students once or twice a week! Well at Turkey Foot Middle School students ​begin their instrumental curriculum in the 6th grade, with no prior knowledge necessary, and the musical training builds from one year to the next as students transition from skill-building to a truly aesthetic daily experience.

The success of this Band is due to the students who give it their all and to Mrs. Jana Bromley, Director Of Bands at Turkey Foot. We would like to take this time to congratulate the 7th grade band who last year received an Exemplary Distinction at NKU and to Mrs. Bromley, who was named the Middle School Teacher of the Year at the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) District Meeting. She will now be in the running for the state-level award.

Practice and good leadership always makes a difference between something that is just OK and something that stands out in a crowd! You will find no better example of this then in Mrs. Bromley and the Band Members of the Turkey Foot Middle School Band. Find out for yourself by attending one of their many wonderful concerts, (see Turkey Foot’s website for dates and details.

Congratulations for being Willis Music’s Band of the Month!

Cindy Hicks

Sheldon Cooper

More news on Big Bang Theory’s Warm Kitty

As I reported to you in May, Willis Music is connected to the show Big Bang Theory through the song Warm Kitty. Sheldon’s Mother used to sing it to him when he was sick and through 9 episodes Sheldon convinces others to sing the song to him. Willis Music owns the song which is in a book from 1937 called Songs for the Nursery School.

As the song and show have become more popular we decided it would be fun to produce a separate sheet of music based on the original song. The challenge for any arranger is that the original song contains just 8 measures. Several folks tried their hand at it before we turned to Composer Glenda Austin to take on the challenge.

Glenda is world famous for her educational piano music. Glenda continues to create music that helps teachers inspire their students and encourages students of all ages to practice by giving them music they enjoy playing. Glenda has recorded her music and the music of composer William Gillock in Nashville with a visiting Japanese recording team. She later toured Japan playing and teaching to the delight of hundreds of Japanese piano teachers.
You can see Glenda’s music at by clicking here.

I recently spoke to Glenda about her project of recreating the magic of Warm Kitty.

How familiar were you with the song and the show before we asked you to get involved?
First of all, I have NEVER watched Big Bang Theory. Heard of it, yes, but never tuned in. However, since the Warm Kitty, Theme and Variations project, I’ve seen excerpts online, mainly the clips where Warm Kitty is sung. I may have to start watching it!

When you agreed to give it a try what was the process you went through?
When asked to arrange Warm Kitty, of course, my first thought was to learn it (since I was not familiar with the tune)! IMMEDIATELY after seeing and hearing it, I realized I would have to put on my thinking cap to create something from 8 measures! That’s not a lot to work with, especially when you’re trying to turn it into a ‘stand alone’ solo! Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was a THEME and VARIATION. And having just done some of John Thompson’s Theme and Variations at my workshops this summer, I knew that was the way to go.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?
I’m not a terribly competitive person, but occasionally, I like a challenge. And the challenge here was to see if I could really come up with something substantial! Once I focused on the project, it materialized quickly. Improvisation is how I compose. So that’s how 8 measures grew into 128 measures of a waltz, tango, jazz and more!

Thank you, Glenda, for taking on this project. Since the music will be released in early October, you can be one of the first to see it. In addition, if you would like to hear Glenda play her new creation click below:

Be one of the first 5 people to post a comment to this blog and receive a free copy of Glenda’s Warm Kitty.

Gillock Association of Japan

We recently received a note with pictures from Mr. Takayuki Nii who is the editor for Zen-On Music in Japan. Zen-On has represented the Willis catalog in Japan for decades. Mr. Nii attended the 25th anniversay of The Gillock Association of Japan. Willis Music sent a special gift for Ms. Hiroko Yasuda as a thank you for her support of our Gillock books in Japan. Ms. Yasuda founded the Association and has done a tremendous amount of research on Bill’s life and music.

She wrote:

Dear Kevin,

I attended the reception for the 25th anniversay of the Gillock Association of Japan (chairperson Ms. Hiroko Yasuda) in Osaka on the 29th of August.
One hundred members were there from many areas of Japan and the party was really successful.
We were able to share Gillock’s music through talking to each other, playing instruments, and dancing.
I gave Ms. Hiroko Yasuda the gift from you on the stage. She was so excited and glad to have it and all the participants were impressed by your thoughtfulness.

The year after next is the 100th anniversary of Gillock’s birth. Zen-On will do its best to get many more Gillock fans, in cooperation with the Gillock Association of Japan.

With my best regards,
Takayuki Nii

Thank you Takayuki for sharing all the great things happening with Willis publications in Japan.

Zen-On

Zen-On is the largest specialist music publishing company in Japan. Their publishing house was founded by Teiji Shimada in 1931 in Tokyo, and the private enterprise was reorganised to a joint-stock company on September 13th, 1947. Since the foundation, they have been distributing, particularly, educational materials not only music, but also intruments which are fitted, right, secure and good quality for the educational purposes.

Need Something To Do This Fall?…

Let’s March!

Fall is the perfect time of year when the heat of summer has past, the leaves are full of color and the crispness in the air wakes you up. The pools are closed so if you are looking for an outside event, why not support your local School Marching Bands by attending a contest. You will hear and see great bands along with some really good hot chocolate, carmel corn and there is always something good to eat. The fee at the gate supports the music programs and we all talk about the importance of music in our schools so lets get up, get out there and attend a contest and support them financially too!
Here are some great contest you might want to attend…

  • Northern Kentucky Marching Band Festival held at Campbell County High School in Alexandria, KY on September 19th, 2015.
  • Tournament Of Bands held at Ryle High School in Union, KY on September 26th, 2015.
  • Mason Marching Band Invitational held at Mason High School in Mason, Ohio on October 17th, 2105.

I will list more as soon as the dates are confirmed. Have a great time and I will be in the stands with my blanket and hot chocolate rooting for my favorite bands!

Cindy

If you know of any marching band competitions please reply with the name and date and I will get it posted.

Throw Another Book on the Barbie

One of the most interesting trips my wife and I have been on was to Australia, although it was too short. If you schedule a trip, plan for at least a 2 week adventure. It was 3 years ago and we learned so much about the country even though we were there for only 6 days. I had the honor of speaking to 3 groups of music retailers and manufacturers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We even had the opportunity to be close enough to pet some kangaroos. One of the highlights of our visit was a hike on top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You can see the hikers on the right side of the bridge dressed in blue from one of the lookouts. And of course, what would a visit to Sydney be without a tour of the famous Sydney Opera House.

As many of you know, Willis Music publications are used and produced all over the world. One of my projects this year was to secure the future of Willis Publications in Australia and New Zealand for years to come. One of the great models I inherited from my father was to find a very capable partner in other countries and let them market for the company. The reason I mention this is that being a smaller company there is no way I can effectively learn the intricacies of each market and sell our product efficiently or effectively without the help of that capable partner. This year I had the difficult decision on deciding which company would represent Willis for the next few years. I’m pleased to say that Hal Leonard Australia will accept that responsibility and I’m very excited. We have always been represented in these important markets very effectively and I believe Hal Leonard is the right choice to carry on. As in other parts of the world, the Willis piano methods are the bestselling methods in their market – names like John Thompson, Edna Mae Burnam and many others. Hal Leonard also represents Willis in North and South America and many other parts of the world and I look forward to using that collaboration to fully serve the Australian/NZ market.

Exciting news for Italy:

Music Sales Corporation has represented Willis for many years in the European Union and recently they have been extremely active in developing new products and translations. The bestselling piano method book in Europe has for years been the Easiest Piano Course by John Thompson. It is printed in many languages and just this summer Italy is getting their own translation.

One of the most interesting aspects between books in America and Europe is the different notation. Music is the universal language yet in Europe they have different names for some common notations.

Here are a few that you might find interesting:

  • U.S Note Name
  • Whole Note
  • Half Note
  • Quarter Note
  • Eighth Note
  • Sixteenth Note
  • Thirty-Second Note
  • British Note Name
  • Semibreve
  • Minim
  • Crotchet
  • Quaver
  • Semiquaver
  • Demisemiquaver

Kevin

New Teachers

As our lessons program continues to grow- we are excited to welcome some new teachers to our team. To sign up for lessons with any of our teachers, stop in and see us at any of our locations, or click here.

 


 

Lexington- Jesse Pena

Jesse Pena is a musician/teacher/composer living in Lexington KY. Born in the Panama Canal zone to a musical family, growing up, Jesse played different styles including Rock, Blues, R&B, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, Classical and Latin. He traveled extensively before moving to Tennessee to play guitar and mandolin for various country, rock, blues and gospel artists. Based in Nashville from 1988 – 2000 he has performed on the Grand Ole Opry. Jesse has also worked as a studio musician/music arranger on demo and custom recordings. A passionate teacher Jesse has taught guitar, bass, mandolin and drums for the last 33 years.

Jesse is available in our Lexington location on Thursdays. To sign up with Jesse, click here.


 

Kenwood- KJ Summerville

I come to Willis music as an experienced guitar instructor and performer. I was a guitar teacher at Buddy Rogers Music in Montgomery for almost 20 years. I won multiple Cammy Awards in Cincinnati as Best Instrumentalist. I have been performing with The Stagger Lee Band as lead guitar and vocalist in and around Cincinnati since 1994. I am dedicated to providing a positive learning experience tailored to the needs of the individual student.

 

 

KJ is available in our Kenwood location on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. To sign up with KJ, click here.


Florence- Michele VanSickle

My name is Michele and I am a veteran music teacher. I have over 16 years of experience. I have taught private lessons for over 20 years. My qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education as well as a Master’s degree in Middle Level Education. I enjoy teaching all beginners as well as middle level and high school students who prepare for solo competitions as well as auditions. This is why, although my primary instrument is percussion, I am very comfortable teaching all concert band instruments at the beginning and intermediate levels. Currently, I am a Music Education Representative for Willis Music and work closely with all area schools. My daughter is in band and we are a musical family. I perform in the classroom setting as well as on the drum set for the worship band at church. I continue to pursue learning new instruments. I can definitely make a difference in the playing ability and overall musical knowledge of the student through focused, fun, encouraging teaching methods.

Michele is available in our Florence location on Sundays and Mondays. To sign up with Michele, click here.


 

Eastgate- Don Gauck

Don Gauck graduated with a bachelor’s degree in jazz and studio music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1995. He has been teaching guitar lessons for 20 years at numerous locations. He plays a wide array of styles including: Rock, Jazz, R&B, Funk and Fingerstyle Acoustic. He has played guitar with national acts such as: Leslie Gore, The Tolkens, Lou Christy, The Reflections, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Don Rickles. He has toured all over the World and worked as Music Director for the Las Vegas Company Legend’s of Las Vegas. He continues to play with numerous cover and original bands in the Cincinnati area. Don will ensure a student has a well rounded music education incorporating: Music Theory, Ear Training, Improvising, Sight Reading, Transcribing and Utilizing Proper Technique.

Don is available in our Eastgate location on Mondays and Tuesdays. To sign up with Don, click here.

 

 

Camels on the Red Carpet, WHAT?

Congratulations to the Campbell County Band of Pride who preformed in the Major League Baseball All Star Game Red Carpet Parade on Tuesday, July 14th. The parade began at 5th and Vine and ended at the Great American Ballpark.

As we all know this was a major event for the city of Cincinnati and the Tri-state area. It was great to see and hear the Fighting Camels presented worldwide. A special thank you to all the students as well as Mr. Nick Little, Director of Bands at Campbell County High School and Mr. Stephen Dietsch, Director of Bands at Campbell County Middle School for representing our great city.

Back To School

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I think we all remember that old Staples commercial showing parents gliding through the store on a shopping cart while the song, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” played and the kids look as though their best friend just moved away. “Well, it’s back!”, or at least it’s on it’s way, “Back To School will be here soon”! ?As you start to look for those back to school cloths, shoes, backpacks, paper and pencils, remember your child’s music supplies.

Willis and Moeller have all your band and general music supplies in their stores and they are ready for the season. Items like reeds at 30% off and recorders at $4.99. You can’t beat these deals anywhere! ? Oh, and don’t forget your marching band student. We have lyres, folios and plenty of drum heads! Just remember, even if you have everything you need we are here to support you and your child. Whether your child is a beginning band student, their first time on the field or going for their Music Ed degree, let us know when we can help along the way.

I hope everyone has a great 2015/2016 school year.

Sincerely,
Cindy

Hitting The Road with JT

As many of you know, I am the lessons coordinator here at Willis Music. But something that you may not know is that I am also working with the publications side of our business. Before anything else, Willis Music has been known for publishing the best piano method books in the world, including the John Thompson Modern Piano Course. I learned to play piano using John Thompson, as I am sure many of you have as well.

John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano &ndash; First Grade (Book/CD Pack)

 

This past weekend, we went up to The National Conference on Piano Pedagogy to represent Willis Music. This was my first time working the Willis booth at one of these events and I really didn’t know what to expect. It was so exciting to speak with so many teachers who are passionate about the Willis family of composers.

On this trip with us were Carolyn Miller and Glenda Austin. It was so great to have them both there with us. They both really enjoy talking to everyone about the music they have worked so hard to create.

On Saturday morning, Carolyn lead the Willis Showcase where she talked a lot about picking the perfect recital piece for your student. She displayed a lot of great music- especially the new issues. Some of my favorites were Carolyn’s own new sheet called “Remember When” and Glenda’s new book called “7 Minor Moods”. Carolyn talked about writing “Remember When” about her late mother- and how she sat down to write the song while she was missing her mom. It really was such an inspiration to be around two very talented composers.

I also learned about something I didn’t even know was an option to piano teachers. It is called Willis Teacher Advantage. When you sign up, you will have new publications shipped to your house every other month- simply because we want you to be the first to try out our new music. To learn more, visit www.willispianomusic.com or click here.

 

Also, follow Willis Piano Music on Facebook to keep up on everything happening in the publications world.

Good Partners and Good Music – Bluegrass

I just completed my third year of running sound at the Appalachian Festival. The Festival is a three-day event held at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. I’ve had the opportunity to mix sound for some great bluegrass and Appalachian concerts in the last three years. Reflecting back after a month or so, I began wondering: why Cincinnati and bluegrass music? I know bluegrass has a strong presence in the area. I also wondered, what is the purpose of the Appalachian Festival? With this in mind I started to do some investigation….

First, let me tell you about this year’s Appalachian Festival. Willis Music is proud to sponsor it for the 4th straight year, and along with Ric Hopkins from The Sound Workshop, I have run sound for the last 3 years. There are two main stages of the festival, where we use state of the art equipment like QSC K Series speakers and Presonus mixers. We can set delays and balance the sound so it is pleasing to listen to, while being able to hear the clarity needed for bluegrass music.

The Appalachian Festival is always on Mother’s Day Weekend and runs for three days. Music goes from 10 in the morning until 9 at night (groups play a 1-hour show with 15-minute breaks for setup). As you can see, there is a ton of music for people to enjoy. Some of the groups that played this year are: Rabbit Hash String Band, Sternwheelers, Pops & Patriots (Big Band Swing), Missy Werner, Appalachian Grass, P’s in a Pod, Good’le Boys, Retread Bluegrass Band, Wayfarers, NightFlyer, Dry Mill Road, Black Water, Steve Bonafel, Haddix Family Gospel, Evan Lanier & Bluegrass Express, Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers, and Oberst & Dowel. The last show on Sunday is always a real treat – the Bluegrass All Stars play as the house band, and all the other groups come back in a festival review concert.

Besides music, there is a living history section with Indians and Mountain people that teach on the old ways. There are lots of craft booths to pick up the perfect Mother’s Day present. Story tellers tell great stories with an Appalachian flair. And let’s not forget about some amazing food.

One story teller that is a treat to listen to (and you will walk away scratching your head) is Uncle Mike Carr. He told me a story that went like this:
A man was sitting at a picnic table eating his lunch. Sitting on the ground was a dog. A little boy walked up and ask “Mister is your dog friendly?” and the man replied, “Yes my dog is very friendly!”. The little boy reached his hand out to pet the dog and the dog growled and snapped at the boy almost biting him. As the little boy jerked his hand back he spouted, “Mister, I thought your dog was friendly!”. The man replied, “ He is friendly, but that ain’t my dog!”.

So what is the Appalachian Festival all about? It is about supporting the people from Appalachia. They raise money from the festival that then gets returned in the form of grants to help schools, community centers and artist studios throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. So far, the Festival has raised $150,000 for the Appalachian Community Development Association (ACDA), which administers these grants. Willis Music is grateful to be a part of keeping the Appalachian culture healthy.

Again, this is a great cause to keep history alive. If you are not usually a bluegrass listener, give it a try!  I have found a ton of bluegrass music that I thoroughly enjoy and some that are even inspiring. Here are a couple of local artists with inspiring songs:
One-Iota with Steve Bonafel – “Last Parade from Anthem” from Of A Family Tree
The Moron Brothers – “Story Of A Song” from More On The Morons album

Another great local artist that I have became very fond of is The Missy Werner Band. I have mixed sound for them at least 8 times, own 3 of their albums, and just enjoy the sound of Missy’s voice. If you are at a show that I am mixing, you will hear me use one of her albums during set-up.

Visit the Appalachian Festival website and help keep bluegrass music alive. Without bluegrass, where would music be today? As Henry Winkler says in the movie Here Comes The Boom, “Without music, life would be a mistake!”

Keep Playing,
Bill Phipps

I asked the president of the ACDA to tell us a little more about the Appalachian Festival, and here is what he wrote:

ACDA & Willis Music

The Appalachian Community Development Association formed a partnership with Willis Music to enhance the music at the Appalachian Festival on Mother’s Day weekend each year at Old Coney Island. By providing excellent PA equipment for the music and Storytelling venues, the patrons have come to expect the great value added sound provided by Willis Music.

The ACDA, a 501-3c was formed over 46 years ago by the Junior League of Cincinnati for the purpose of helping Appalachians and their descendants adjust to the urban life, far from the hills of Appalachia. It is hard to believe that after all these years the need for this help is still needed in urban as well as rural communities both near and far from Cincinnati. Recently the board of ACDA, an all volunteer staff, narrowed the focus to accommodate other 501-3c groups who provide food or education directly to those in our Appalachian region who desperately need help.

Our Festival itself works very hard to provide a learning environment through entertaining events, displays, music, storytelling, crafts, demonstrations and living history. The story of Appalachia and its legacy in our region must be told and remembered. The Festival is the sole income provider for the ACDA. Without the participation from our friends such as Willis Music, Kroger, Messer Construction, Midwest Polaris, Burger Farm and Garden, and Edudoc, our funds would be very small indeed.

Please know that patronizing Willis Music assures this valuable participation will go on for years to come. We thank the management and staff at Willis Music for their time and effort at helping others in our Appalachian Community.

Thank you again,
Ron Simmons
President, ACDA

Visit the Appalachian Festival website to sign up for a grant, and learn more about the festival itself.

Willis Goes to Washington

From the second my plane touched down at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, DC, it was a whirlwind of activity. The National Retail Federation sponsored the trip and I was honored to be one of 51 Retailers from around the country to receive the distinction of America’s Retail Champions 2015. My focus was with a group from Kentucky who I worked with on the Retail Across America Project.

I arrived on Monday evening, July 27th, and Tuesday morning we began a day of education. We began with a talk presented by Ohio Representative Steve Chabot. I have met with the Congressman in the past and have always found him to be receptive to small business concerns. Throughout the day we learned some interesting facts such as:

  • Retailers directly provide 29 million American jobs.
  • Retail generates 2.59 Trillion in total GDP. 1/6 of the US total.
  • 98.6% of Retailers in the US employ fewer than 50 people.
  • 95% of all Retailers operate 1 location.
  • Retail includes at least 20% of the jobs in each state.
    1. Kentucky is 23%
    2. Ohio is 24%

After all the education, we headed to dinner at the Newseum which is a museum dedicated to news and headlines over the years. When you visit Washington, DC, I would recommend a trip to the Newseum.  Just be aware that it’s one of the few attractions that require payment for admission.

Wednesday was the reason we were all there and we anxiously approached the Hill with visits to a variety of offices. We spoke about concerns we have as retailers and spoke directly to our representatives. Since I was there with a group of Kentucky retailers we focused on the southern side of the river. I appreciated the active participation each member of Congress and their openness in sharing. I will follow up with each of them and continue the dialogue about our industry.

Although I have done similar trips with NAMM over the past 10 years, this was my first time with the National Retail Federation. The NRF had a tremendous program and I want to thank them for their outstanding hospitality.

Now for the fun part – when your state holds the office of majority leader and you have a meeting with him you are escorted into the Capitol and into some pretty famous offices. While we were waiting, the receptionist told me that we were in the very room where Thomas Jefferson was sworn in. She also added that the floor was new because of the fire set by the British in 1814. I have to admit just sitting there looking around and realizing someone like Thomas Jefferson stood there and was sworn in as our 3rd President was pretty amazing.

Regardless of your political feelings or party affiliations, I encourage you to visit our nation’s capital if you have a chance and take a walk back in time.

Kevin Cranley

Make Music Day

On Sunday, June 20th, I had the opportunity to spend National Make Music Day at our Lexington store for Lexi-Fest.  Lexi-Fest was put together by none other than the wonderfully talented David McLean. Amoung many other things, David teaches the group guitar class at the store. David put together this event at several different locations throughout Lexington, and we were happy to offer the front of our store. It was a day full of great musical talent, and I’d love to take a minute to share it with you.

Getting ready with my Willis Gear!

Getting ready with my Willis Gear!

Inside the store- we were armed with a ton of Ukuleles. We find that Ukuleles are an instruments that anyone can pick up and learn a few chords on, and we had a great time offering that opportunity to anyone and everyone who walked in the store.

image2 (1)

Matt, Justin, and John are ready to rock!

 

The event was kicked off at 2:00 with local weatherman Bill Meck as our Emcee. Lucky for Bill, the weather wasn’t as bad as expected- so he didn’t get blamed for too much. Our first performer was Marcus Wilkerson. Marcus is a great singer and guitar player.

image3

 

After Marcus, we brought up the band Soljam. They were very fun to listen to, with a smooth style that you don’t hear often.

image4

 

Next we had Hybrd the Rapper. He did some rap and some spoken word. It was a performance like I have never seen or heard before- and he offered me a much better appreciation for the genre.

image5

 

Our last performer was Maggie Lander. Maggie is a singer/songwriting of folk music and she was incredible to watch.

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Overall it was a great day for music, and I was so happy I got to be a part of it! Thanks again to David McLean for organizing the event, and our fearless store manager Chris Teesdale for making it all happen.

Baseball time in Cincinnati

This is an exciting time for baseball in Cincinnati and Willis Music is proud to be associated with the Reds. Our connection with the Reds lives on in several fronts and I want to tell you about a few.

John Schutte, organist extraordinaire for the Reds used to work at Willis Music and in fact directly with me. John used his varied musical talents to organize and develop our in-house music typesetting department. John later left to pursue a career in firefighting where he continues today in Saint Bernard. Back in 2010 John and his band, The Rusty Griswolds were playing at the stadium and he questioned if they still had an organ. They did, although it had not been played in a few years. He mentioned that if they ever needed someone, to give him a call. To that they responded, “What are you doing Sunday?” John has been playing with the Reds ever since.

Through our association with John and the Reds we became aware that they needed better equipment for John to play on in the booth. We contacted Yamaha and began working on a solution. Before long John was playing on a brand new Tyros 4 all donated by Yamaha and Willis Music.

But probably the most interesting project we did with the Reds was with the Cincinnati Reds logo organ Willis donated and decorated. We had an organ in stock that we decorated for use around the park. It was an interesting project and involved a wrap like you might see on a car. I think it turned out great and you might see John before a Saturday afternoon game playing in front of the stadium on the Red’s organ. Make sure to stop by and listen.

Baseball is a great tradition in our hometown and has always been a big part of my life. I was fortunate to be in high school during the 70’s and the glory days of the Big Red Machine. If you were there you know how special that was. But my father, who grew up in Boston, played for the Red Sox farm team after the war. He decided the major leagues were not in his future and turned to the music business. Unfortunately I didn’t pick up his baseball ability but I wouldn’t trade the joy and fulfillment the music industry has brought me for anything.

Go Reds

Kevin Cranley

Warning: Adorable Babies Playing Music Alert

Summer is an exciting time for learning music. So many fun things happen in the summer and it is a time where music making really comes to the forefront of what we do. The month of June even includes National Make Music Day- but more on that later.

As many of you know, we had Free Lesson Day in all of our stores a few weeks ago. We were so pleased with how many people came out and participated. We even had a few employees join in and they really got a lot out of it. You can hear more about Laura’s experience here.

Beginning lessons in the summer really gives you and your child a lot of time to practice- or even practice together. But on top of just taking lessons, there are so many other fun activies that can be done with music in the summer. One of those things is our class called Discovering Music. Discovering Music is a class for children anywhere from just a few months old to 5 years old. The class will be facilitated by Holly Hankin, one of our great employees at Willis Music Eastgate. Holly is currently working on her degree in Music Therapy and really has a passion for bringing music into a child’s life at a young age.

I really love seeing young people learning music. I make sure that whenever I get invited to a baby’s birthday, I bring along a gift that is in some way musical. I have tried to train my nephew early so that he will definetly be playing an instrument. He already has the perfect piano hands! Here is a picture of him with his hands in perfect position (So maybe the toy is upside down but he’s still young!)

Discovering Music will be on Tuesday mornings from 10:30-11:30 at our Eastgate Mall location. We can’t wait to see you there. I will leave you with this adorable baby- I’d say his parents have the right idea!

Colleen Cranley

Lessons you don’t pay for…count me in!

Saturday, May 23rd was Free Lesson Day at Willis Music. All of our stores offered a free guitar/keyboard lesson to anyone interested! I decided to take advantage of this! I have never played a musical instrument. You are probably thinking: “hold on…a music company hired someone who doesn’t play an instrument of any kind?” Yes they sure did! I mean I can’t even sing (believe me you don’t want to hear me try!). But, I have wanted to learn because it is never too late to learn. I always wanted to play an instrument, but I have never had the courage to learn. To me, it just seemed too difficult. When we decided we were doing Free Lesson Day, I thought to myself, “why not take a Ukulele lesson…start off small!” So I am writing a blog about taking my very first lesson!

I walked into the Willis Music-Eastgate store with my husband and incredibly cute niece in tow! My husband played as a child and my niece’s mom is a very talented flute player so of course it is just in their blood! (Lucky them). My family… well let’s just say we don’t have any Mozart’s in the fam! So I was totally new at this. I told Denise Burkhardt ,the manager, I wanted to take a Ukulele (aka “Uke”) lesson. She asked Mike Bachelier to give me a lesson! By the way, Mike is a great teacher! He grabbed a uke and a chord book and sat down to teach me. Now, he opened the book to the first set of chords he was going to teach me and it might as well have been Latin! No worries though, Mike showed me what strings and frets matched with those in the book and what fingers I was supposed to use on each. Here are a few pictures and a video of him showing me.

Pretty soon he handed the Uke over to me so I could try on my own. I got the first chord ,an A chord, down with no problems! Then I thought I was super cool so I was going to try the more difficult E chord… four fingers… psh I got this! Or so I thought! Darn small hands! I know it is great to have small hands to play a Uke, but apparently I have infant hands! My poor fingers couldn’t reach all of the strings! Mike made sure I had my fingers properly placed and assured me with time you get better… let’s hope so. Here is Mike placing my fingers (and stretching them as far as they could go) in the right places. Before long I had a few chords down. Here I am strumming a little!

It doesn’t sound like much, but hey, it was my first time actually playing real chords instead of me just pretending to play. I am pretty excited to buy my first Ukulele and learn more. I am proof that you are never too old to pick an instrument up and take lessons.
Here are a few pictures from others joining in on the fun! This is Leah Decatur getting a guitar lesson and my adorable niece Izzy starting off young! (Hey you are never to young to start right?)

Laura Barrowman

Magical Moments

I’ve met some interesting and famous people in my life and this one for me was truly magical. Henry Z. Steinway represented to me one of the most honored and outstanding brands the world has ever known. He carried the family name of a product that is universally recognized as the finest, period.

The year was 2007 and while attending the NAMM convention in Anaheim, I had the opportunity to travel to Carlsbad, CA to attend the dedication of the Steinway Gallery at the NAMM Museum of Making Music. (If you are ever in the area, Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and it’s a wonderful museum.) At that meeting I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Henry Z. Steinway. We had a chance to discuss his early days in the business and what being a ‘Steinway’ meant to him. Henry was born in New York in 1915 and while he was the great-grandson of the founder Henry Engelhard Steinway he didn’t necessarily have an interest or desire to enter the family business. He graduated from Harvard College and thought ‘maybe I’ll give this piano thing a try’. As he spoke about this time in his life I was reminded of my growing up in the family business (Willis) yet not really sure what I wanted to do with my life. He started on the shop floor doing whatever needed to be done and ended up working in various departments. As he worked, his passion developed all the way to the recognition he received in 2007. In November of 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts presented by President George W. Bush. Henry credited his time with the Steinway skilled craftsman in his early years as more valuable than any amount of study he would have done.

I think one of the more interesting periods in his life was during WWII. As the war broke out, Henry became a factory manager. In 1942, his career was paused as he was drafted and assigned to work on Governor’s Island at the Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps headquarters. That’s when he met his wife Polly. After the war, he returned to Steinway and Sons and became president in 1955.

As I sat and listened to Henry, I felt like I was experiencing a slice of American/World history first hand. I sensed a wisdom that comes from years of experiences, both good and bad. He was gracious and although there were many people at the opening, when he spoke with me he was totally tuned into our conversation, which I greatly admired. Henry Z. Steinway is missed but his spirit and passion live with me.

One interesting side note is that we were in the museum that Henry was a founding member of and served as its first president. See and hear Henry in a clip from his historical interview at the museum. Notice his extreme humility. Click here to see information about Henry Steinway on the NAMM page.

I do remember telling him as we finished that Willis would one day represent Steinway with great honor. Happily, we were able to reach that goal three years ago. Steinway and Sons is a valued partner and we look forward to representing them in this region for many years to come.

Kevin Cranley

Bedell Guitars, a Seed-to-Song Journey

I have questions about your wood.  No more blood wood campaign.

Bedell Guitars takes action.  No more blood wood campaign.

THE BEDELL TONEWOOD CERTIFICATION PROJECT PRINCIPLES
Bedell tonewood is legally acquired, in accordance with all domestic and international regulations, including CITES and Lacey Act, and has verified supporting documentation. Bedell tonewood is ethically sourced from one of the following scenarios:

  1. Individual trees salvaged from the forest as dead/fallen or at the end of their lifecycle.
  2. Trees individually harvested in a manner that leaves the rest of the forest and ecological system as undisturbed as possible.
  3. Tonewood from a collection of “treasured tonewood,” fully compliant with all international regulations, and harvested either before the CITES convention of 1992 or before the wood species was listed under CITES.

BEDELL GUITARS WILL NEVER KNOWINGLY USE ANY TONEWOOD FROM CLEAR-CUT FORESTS.

Our wood partners share our commitment to preserving the forests and certify that the tonewood supplied conforms to the Bedell Tonewood Certification Project principles.  The Bedell wood management team verifies these claims and makes periodic site visits to confirm compliance. Additionally, the Bedell Wood Library code system tracks chain-of-custody and legal documentation for every piece of wood in our library.

Many of you share this respect and reverence for the connection between the woods of our forest, and our music making.  Each Bedell guitar has a story to share, each set of tonewoods in the Bedell Seed to Song Journals tells a fantastic journey of every guitar made.  Each Bedell guitar is ethically hand crafted in Bend, Oregon.  And with tonewoods consistent with the principles fo the Bedell Tonewood Certification Project.

Make an appointment today to check out our inventory of Bedell Guitars.

Robert Falcon  513-252-0445

New Teacher Alert!

We are very excited about our new teachers right now at our Kenwood location. We love the energy that a new teacher brings- and we can’t wait to see them in action.

Click here to sign up with our new teachers today!


 

KJ Summerville

I come to Willis music as an experienced guitar instructor and performer. I was a guitar teacher at Buddy Rogers Music in Montgomery for almost 20 years. I won multiple Cammy Awards in Cincinnati as Best Instrumentalist. I have been performing with The Stagger Lee Band as lead guitar and vocalist in and around Cincinnati since 1994. I am dedicated to providing a positive learning experience tailored to the needs of the individual student.

“I’ve been taking acoustic guitar lessons from KJ for several years. I’m an older student (senior citizen now) and picked up the guitar later in life. KJ is an excellent instructor playing a wide range of styles. He helps me set realistic challenging goals for my playing. My lessons are a combination of learning covers and application of music theory and playing styles to songs I write. He not only takes the time to point out ways to improve my playing, but is very supportive reminding me of how much I’ve improved when I begin to get discouraged. I play much more confidently and have been willing to explore a much wider range of music and playing than I expected to. He is not only good at what he does, but he is good at designing lessons to meet your specific goals.” -Vince Bennett

Sign up with KJ today!


 

Brad Levine

I have been teaching for over 7 years and playing guitar for more than 30 years. I have written and recorded over 70 pieces, love to play and love teaching. My influences range from Bach to the Beatles. For beginners I like to start by using a beginner book, but will augment lessons with songs the student is interested in. After successfully completing a beginner book, we’ll focus on songs, practice exercises, and scales. I also like to help students with miscellaneous things related to the guitar: changing strings, choosing strings, choosing a guitar, writing and recording, etc. Being patient, encouraging and easy to understand have greatly contributed to my success as a teacher.

Sign up with Brad today!


New Teachers at Eastgate!

We are very excited about our new teachers right now at our Eastgate location. We love the energy that a new teacher brings- and we can’t wait to see them in action.

Click here to sign up with our new teachers today!


Chris Sherman

Chris Sherman has been teaching both bass guitar and guitar lessons for over 10 years. He was recently featured at the 2014 London Bass Guitar Show, to lead a master class in bass guitar. Also known professionally as ‘Freekbass’, he has three internationally released instructional DVDs. “Learn to play Funk Bass Level 1 & 2” by The RockHouse Method, and “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know”, produced by TrueFire.com. TrueFire is now preparing to release a second Freekbass instructional DVD, entitled, “Funktronic Groove Construction”. Chris/Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Although known by many as a bassist, Chris is also an accomplished guitarist and guitar teacher with a strong technique, groove, and theory background.

Check out Chris in the Huffington Post

Sign up for lessons with Chris today!


 

 

Shawn Elsbernd

I have been a professional drummer and instructor for 15 years. I toured the United States and Mexico for the past six years with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus. I teach all styles, levels and ages. Each student is different so I teach them at the level that they can learn. Drums are amazing to me and I love to share what I know.

Sign up for lessons with Shawn today!

 


 

Band Director skydiving

Who said Camels Can’t Fly!

This is the most unusual thing I have ever seen a band director do. To get his students motivated Mr. Stephen Dietsch, Director of Bands at Campbell County Middle School, home of the Camels, promised he would jump out of a plane if his students earned a Distinguished Rating at the Kentucky Music Educator Association state assessment. Boy oh boy did he keep his promise. Check out this video!


Great job Mr. Dietsch, and thank you for showing our young people the importance of honoring a promise!

If You Sing or Play, It’s All Music To My Ears!

Last month I neglected to mention the Choral Assessments and I would like to correct that this month. There were over 35 middle and high school choirs that performed at the Kentucky Music Educators Association District 7 Choral Performance Assessment. Students came from Campbell, Boone, Kenton, Bracken and Grant counties. Most people do not realize that choral students go through the same process as band students and Choral Music is very strong in our Northern Kentucky School Districts and here’s why…
Congratulations to the Campbell County Camel Singers and Camerate Choirs who both received Proficient ratings.
Another Congratulations goes out to the Campbell County Select Choir who received three Distinguished Ratings and a Proficient on sight reading.
Keeping with the Campbell County theme here is a big shout out to the 8th grade Choir who received Distinguished Ratings.

All-Stars, And I am Not Talking Baseball!

Choral students from all four Kenton County Middle Schools participated in a concert that was hosted at Turkey Foot Middle School. It was a pleasure to attend and I would like to thank Mrs. Debbie Brown, Secondary G/T Specialist for choosing Willis Music to supply the music for the All-Star Chorus. A special congratulations for a job well done are the choral teachers who put in so much time and effort into making the concert a success…
Debbie Sager at Summit View Middle, Allison Peeno at Turkey Foot Middle, Sherry Clark (the sweetest person in the world) at Twenhofel Middle and Nancy Bailey at Woodward Middle. You ladies rock!

Cindy Hicks

Sheldon Cooper

Soft Kitty – Where does it come from?

Warm kitty, soft kitty, little ball of fur, Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr! purr! purr! I trust many of you have heard this song although with slightly altered words. What I’m guessing is that almost all of you don’t know the connection with Willis Music.

Willis Music is an international music publisher in addition to the retail stores you are familiar with. We publish the most used piano course in the history of piano methods. The name of that course is John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano. It along with other books by John Thompson and many others are published all over the world and in 17 languages and counting. Since 1899 we have published over 13,000 individual titles.

In 1937 we published a book called Songs for the Nursery School and we sold tens of thousands of copies. It is a hardbound book of over 150 songs for children. The book was written by Laura Pendleton MacCarteney. In that book on page 27 is Warm Kitty.

Warner Brothers and I worked together to secure the rights for the show The Big Bang Theory and they have been using the song ever since. The writers wanted the song because one of them remembered it as a child. They also wanted to slightly change the words and I’m really not sure of the reason for that change. Here is the original and the Big Bang version.

Original:

Warm kitty, soft kitty, little ball of fur, Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr! purr! purr!

Big Bang:

Soft kitty, Warm kitty, little ball of fur, Sleepy kitty, happy kitty, purr! purr! purr!

The storyline of the use of the song is that Sheldon Cooper’s mother used to sing the song to Sheldon as a child whenever he was sick. Over 8 episodes Sheldon has convinced various other characters to sing Warm Kitty to him when he was under the weather. I love the show and especially like hearing Warm Kitty.

The song has become so popular that you can find t-shirts, stuffed animals, hats and many other items with the words.
Check out Amazon!

Saturday May 23 is Warm Kitty day in our stores. Come in and sing the song and receive a special gift and well deserved recognition from our team.

Kevin Cranley

Have You Heard About Free Lesson Day?

Have you heard about Free Lesson Day?

We do many exciting things here at Willis Music- but I personally am really excited about this. We have decided that the best way for you or your child to decide if lessons are right for you- is to try them out- for free! So we invite you to come to any of our stores from 1:00-3:00 on May 23rd.

There we will have teachers ready to give you a short lesson to decide if private instruction is right for you. We will be focusing on piano and guitar. It is going to be a really fun day- introducing people to music is what we are here for. It will be a great way to meet some of our fantastic teachers. We can’t wait to see you there. Contact the store nearest you for more information.

Here is a short video telling you all about Free Lesson Day!

Assessment Recap

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Assessment at Northern Kentucky University. For those of you that might not know judges record the school’s performances and provide them with immediate feedback. The bands and their directors are also asked to sight-read. They have a few minutes to view the music before they perform in front of a judge. Wow, I would think that would be the most stressful part of this event! All the judges scores are combined for an overall rating. Here a re few highlights we would like to mention…

The following ensembles were named exemplary groups by the adjudicators:

– Gray Middle School 8th Grade Band – Bill Kidwell

– Turkey Foot Middle School 7th Grade Band – Jana Bromley

– Highlands High School Chamber Orchestra – Kathy Anderson

– Beechwood High School Symphonic Band – Joe Craig & Adam Proctor

– Ryle High School Honors Wind Symphony – Bob Elliott

​A special mention and thank you go out to Mr. Chris Miller, Director of Bands and Walton-Verona High School for serving again as this years Assessment Manager.

The History of the Willis Music Company

Beginning in 1899 through today, Willis Music’s focus has always been on music education. From their internationally known educational piano catalog to one of the top retail music chains in America this focus on education has always remained. Here’s how it began…

On April 1, 1899, Charles H. Willis, a veteran of the sheet music industry, founded a small business at 41 East 4th Street in downtown Cincinnati. For the next 20 years Mr. Willis and his son William grew the business through hard work and a keen focus on the needs of music educators. During that time the company acquired several music publishers such as The John Church Company and George B. Jennings and Company. In 1919, Gustave Schirmer bought the Willis Music Company, making it a branch of G. Schirmer of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1923 John J. Cranley, a fiery, redheaded Irishman from the Boston Music Company, became general manager of the Willis subsidiary. John began as a stockboy at Boston Music and now was leading Willis Music with his hard work and love for the music business. He turned this small organization into a major corporation in very quick order. Little by little, he acquired more than 50% ownership in the company through stock options and then purchased all the remaining stock. John continued running Boston Music, Schirmer Music and Willis Music. Under his leadership, Willis Music became “The Publisher” for teaching methods and solo pieces. The John Thompson method, “Modern Course for the Piano” was added to the catalog in 1936 and quickly became, and still is today, the most widely used piano method in the world, published in 17 languages. He then added names like Edna Mae Burnam and her prolific “Dozen a Day” series as well as William Gillock.

John’s son, Edward, became president of the Willis Music Company in 1965. Like his father he grew up in the business at Boston Music. After serving in the Navy during WWII and Korea he moved his Family to Cincinnati to join Willis in 1955. He worked all departments, sharing his Dad’s enthusiasm while continuing the success and growth of the organization. In 1969 the Company’s headquarters and publishing operation moved to Florence, Kentucky.

After graduating from Xavier University in 1980, Kevin Cranley, Ed’s son, joined the company full time. In 1990, Kevin succeeded his father as President and continues in that role today. Kevin also served as the Chairman of NAMM, the industry’s International Trade Association from 2011-2013.

In the past 10 years Willis has gone through tremendous positive change. In 2005 Willis partnered with the Hal Leonard Corporation who now handles product development, production and distribution for the Willis catalog in the Americas and beyond. Hal Leonard provides an unmatched stable of popular songs and talent that have enhanced the iconic Willis Piano Methods.


In 2012 Willis became the exclusive representative for Steinway and Sons Pianos in the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton markets. Willis services university music departments, local symphonies and music enthusiasts with the world’s finest pianos.

With the 2013 acquisition of Moeller Music, Willis strengthened its commitment and dedication to school music programs in all markets. At the same time Willis began representing the renowned Yamaha Band and Orchestra line of instruments.

Today Willis Music stores provide everything musicians of all levels need and desire. With performance spaces in several stores Willis is frequently the venue for beginners, rising stars and Steinway Artists.

Cick here to read what else happened the day of our inception!

Kevin Cranley

A Summer Full Of Music

I think it is safe to say that we are all ready for summer. Don’t get me wrong- I used to think snow was really pretty- but not anymore! Spring is one of the busiest times of year for a lot of people, so summer is that promise of a little relaxation. Even through the hustle of getting the kids out of school, final exams, and work deadline, there is still the promise of a great summer at the end of it all.

That being said- summer was so much more fun we you were young. So here at Willis Music- we want to help you plan the perfect summer for your children- and maybe you can even get involved too! We are planning several different summer group programs in our different locations.

The benefits of group music making are endless. While one-on-one instruction is crucial to the learning process, starting with a group can be a great way to shake off the nerves. Starting something new is scary, but starting something new with 10 other people doesn’t sound so bad. We have had several group classes here and we love them.

We are planning all sorts of group lessons for the summer. We are still developing some- but here is a little bit more about one I am really excited about

In our Eastgate location, we will be holding a kids keyboard class called “Teaching Little Fingers to Play”. The class will be taught by our very own piano teacher Mike Bachelier. Mike teaches Piano, Guitar, and Voice several days a week at Willis Music and is excited to do some group work. The class will be on Monday mornings, 10:30-11:30, and will last for 6 weeks starting on June 15th. The price of the class will be $100. Space is limited so sign up in store or give the store a call at 513-752-6341.

More information on other group classes will be coming soon. If you would like to stay in the loop, make sure to visit www.willismusic.com/lessons or stop in a store today to find out what they are planning for you this summer.


Playing music in a group is a great way for your child to excel, as well as make new friends and learn new skills. You don’t have to take my word for it- check out this video of brothers who have always played music together and are proof that hard work and practice can really pay off!

 

This Is How It Gets Done!

Walton Verona Middle School started their beginning band class off with a big bang! Mrs. Hedges, Director of Bands at Walton Verona Middle School, knows how to get her students and their parents involved and excited about making music.

walton verona beginning band meeting

Right before Christmas break, students and parents were invited to a hands-on meeting where students had the chance to actually make a sound on several instruments. Parents loved watching as Mrs. Hedges helped each child choose an instrument that best fits them.

walton verona beginning band meeting

Some crazy sounds were heard on that day. Mrs. Shana Gatewood, (yes, she is the wife of band director A.J. Gatewood from Twenhofel Middle School and … a great trumpet player/teacher that also helps Willis Music out with many parent meetings and student demonstrations), had students making great sounds! Trumpet was a big choice for several students. Shana did a great job fitting the students! She ROCKS!

walton verona beginning band meeting

We all know how important making music is in our kids lives. We all also know music education improves recall and retention of verbal information, advances math achievement and boosts reading and English skills. And of course… we all know it increases average SAT scores. With all that we know it’s the band director of your child’s school and the directors of beginning bands all over the world that have the most influence on students and can help change their lives through music. Amber Hedges is one of the best and she knows how to get things done in her school!

An Insider’s Account of This Year’s NAMM Show

winter namm 2015I just attended my 35th January NAMM show. Yes, my first one was at 21 years old. For those of you who are unaware of NAMM, it’s the trade association of the $17 billion dollar music products industry. NAMM began in 1901 making it 2 years younger than Willis Music.

Our yearly pilgrimage to NAMM is always a welcome retreat from our cold winters. We go to sunny Anaheim and this year the weather was fantastic. I travel with 3 buyers from Willis (Paul, Bill and Mike) and my wife Debbi. Our buyers spend most of their time visiting vendors like Yamaha, Fender, Steinway, Hal Leonard and hundreds more; placing orders and learning about new products. My time at NAMM is involved with meetings with some of our larger vendors along with meetings with each of our foreign sub-publishers. As many of you know Willis owns a catalog of educational piano music with names like John Thompson, Edna Mae Burnam and William Gillock. Those publications and more are in great demand in other countries so I use the NAMM show to meet with our partners representing the countries of Japan, China, England, Australia, South Africa and other parts of Europe. In some cases working with translators which I always find interesting. Our John Thompson Piano Course is now printed in 17 languages.

That’s a bit about our main jobs at the show but there is much more. For me, the show is a reunion of some of my best friends. I was fortunate to be asked to serve on the executive committee of NAMM for 8 years which ended in 2013. My final 2 years I was the Chairman of NAMM and traveled around the world meeting so many great people. I love reconnecting with all of them each year at the NAMM show. In a later edition I’ll write about some of our most memorable experiences during that time. For me, this year’s highlight was the annual Yamaha concert. They hold a concert every other year or so in DisneyLand at the Hyperion Theater. The artists are unbelievable. This year’s highlight for Debbi and me was Jamie Cullum. If you don’t know Jamie, do yourself a favor and check him out. Also performing were The Piano Guys, James Blunt, Jonathan Butler, Bob James, Colbie Caillat, Nathan East and others. The MC was Sinbad and he was a riot. The show was 3 1/2 hours long and was amazing. Jonathan Butler was the surprise for us; such an amazing voice. And Colbie Caillat has such a clear distinctive voice, she was really good too.

One last thing, check out this video of The Piano Guys at a retirement home. Watch the change in the residents as the Piano Guys perform, it’s amazing. The benefits of music in action.

Paul (one of the Willis buyers) attended a concert put on by Vandoren called VandoJam. Several Grammy winning Jazz artists really killed it. It featured Paquito D’Rivera, Eric Marienthal, and Jerry Vivino, with special guests Felix Peikli and Farnell Newton. That is one of the most exciting things about the show. Artists are everywhere and each company tries to provide the best performances you will ever hear. You can be walking the halls and see Jason Mraz, John Mayer or even Stevie Wonder. I was fortunate enough to meet Stevie last year. I remember one year when Stevie Wonder just started playing in the Yamaha booth; not planned… just spontaneous artistry at it’s best.

Make today a musical day.

Kevin Cranley

It’s All About That Band!

It is that time of year. School is in full swing, and school band is something that your child is going to stick with. We have always found that private lessons are the best way for your child to succeed in band class- some band directors even require that all students take private lessons outside of school. Here at Willis Music, we are always on the look out for the best musician to help your child grow. We are always expanding, especially when it comes to band. Here are just a few of our many new band teachers. To find out more about lessons for you or your child, click on the location nearest you, or on one of these great teachers below!

Willis Music Lexington

Willis Music Florence

Willis Music Eastgate

Willis Music Kenwood

Moeller/Willis Music West Chester 


 

Armond Luckey- West Chester Location

I started playing trumpet when I was 12 so I’ve been playing for about 16 years. I attended Miami University on a full ride scholarship. While there I had the opportunity to connect and play with several musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Wayne Bergeron and Jon Faddis. While at Miami I was the lead player for the Miami Jazz Ensemble as well as the jazz trumpet ensemble called the Lickitysplits. I was also a part of the Miami Wind Ensemble, Miami Marching Band, and Miami Orchestra. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Click here to register with Armond


 

Chase Clark- Lexington Location

As an educator, Chase has taught at various schools and music camps throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Teaching with his first instrument, the trombone, Chase has appeared as a guest instructor at prestigious music programs such as Lafayette High School, Beaumont Middle School, Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, and John Hardin High School. Chase also has taught at the Annie Moses Band’s Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, TN since 2010. This fine arts camp trains 200-250 students in which Chase is the primary trombone and low brass instructor, jazz big band section instructor, and a member of the faculty performing groups. As well as teaching across Kentucky and Tennessee, Chase maintains a successful trombone studio of emerging talent in the Lexington, Kentucky area. As a performer, Chase has appeared with an extensive variety of musical groups such as the University of Kentucky’s Opera Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, the Annie Moses Band, Wycliffe Gordon, and Grammy-award winning artist Bob Mintzer. Chase also recorded with Bob Mintzer on the album “Go” which released in 2011. Chase also joined with the Annie Moses Band to perform in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and the Grand Ole Opry House in 2013. He currently can be heard as lead trombone/soloist with local artists in the Lexington area such as the jazz big band the MetroGnomes, the oldies rock group Big City Groove, and the Lexington Community Orchestra.

Click here to register with Chase


 

Stacey Krimmer- Eastgate Mall location

STACEY KRIMMER received both her Bachelor of Music degree in education and her Master of Music degree in flute performance from the University of Wyoming. In addition to running a private flute studio since 1986, Stacey was the instructor for the flute program at Colorado Academy in Denver. She also taught Suzuki flute, penny whistle, and recorder at Colorado Academy, and was an instructor of flute ensembles at the Suzuki Association of Colorado’s Winter Workshop. She also served as board president of the Colorado Flute Association. Stacey’s performance work includes Wind Images Woodwind Quintet, the ballet orchestra to premiere “Winter Moons,” the Denver Opera Company Orchestra, the Colorado Wind Ensemble, the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Blue Ash Symphony. She also worked and performed with School House Symphony, a small ensemble dedicated to providing in-school performances by combining teaching with performing.

Click here to register with Stacey


 

 

Ashley Martin- West Chester Location

A native of Mason, OH, Ashley Martin holds degrees in music education and oboe performance from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. At Ohio State, she studied oboe with Professors Robert and Bailey Sorton, and had the opportunity to work with Joe Robsinson, the retired principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic. Ashley has performed on both oboe and English horn in numerous ensembles, including the Ohio Capital Winds, Columbus Childrens’ Theatre, and the Lebanon Symphony Orchestra. She currently performs with the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band, and can be heard in a Naxos Label recording performing with the Ohio State University Wind Symphony. As an educator, Ms. Martin specializes in concert band instruction in addition to oboe. She spent two years teaching 5th through 12th grade band for Crestwood Local Schools in northeast Ohio, and currently teaches beginning band at VanGorden Elementary School in the Lakota school district. Ms. Martin has been teaching oboe privately in the Cincinnati, Akron, and Columbus metro areas for over seven years. She is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Ohio Music Educators Association, Women Band Directors International, and Sigma Alpha Iota.

Click here to register with Ashley


 

You Received A Musical Instrument For Christmas…

Now What?

Congratulations!!! If you received a musical instrument for Christmas, someone really cares about you. You now have in your possession the gift that keeps on giving. The gift that does not care about your age, sex, race, religion, class and so one. Although you may go through many instruments, the music itself will last most of your lifetime.

Learn…

It’s never too late to learn! This is one of our mantras. Watch these videos, get inspired, then read further.

Now that you’ve seen the videos, it’s time for you to start your journey of making music.

Look…

Whether you opened up a humanatone or a Steinway Grand Piano from under the tree, the instrument is only the facilitator of your music making process. YOU are the music.

With that being said, do you have everything you need to play, maintain, clean and store your instrument? Over the next few days we will feature different articles pertaining to your instrument. Check back often for your instrument category.

  • There was a guitar under the tree just for me! COMING SOON
  • I got a drumset for Christmas! COMING SOON
  • I opened a violin from under the tree! COMING SOON
  • There was a woodwind instrument under the tree! COMING SOON
  • There was a brass instrument under the tree! COMING SOON
  • I got a keyboard for Christmas! COMING SOON

Please note if you received an instrument for Christmas that is not listed above, comment on this blog or send us an email and we will reply with a personalized list just for you!

Listen…

If you are not doing it already, we encourage you to do lots of “listening.” Always be listening and never stop listening. Are you listening? If you are, your next question might be, “What should I listen to?” As stated by one of the greatest american composers, Duke Ellington:

There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.

We highly suggest listening to “Good Music.” You should try and listen to music that features your instrument but you should at least start with what your “ear” tells you.

Remember when we said “anyone can listen to music?” We really meant it. Here is an example.

Bottom line, think about this: If you don’t listen to music, how do you know what you want to sound like?

Lessons…

How do you learn something new? Do you research on the internet? Do you just hope and guess? Whether you are a “self-taught” type of person or not, EVERYONE must practice in order to learn/improve upon a skill. “Talent” only gets you so far.

How do I know if I am getting the most efficient results from my practice time? Wait, what is “practicing?” I don’t own a “woodshed,” what does it mean to go there? I was progressing really quickly but then one day it just stopped; what happened? If you have asked any of these questions, then Music Lessons are definitely for you.

If you are a beginner and have never asked any of the above questions, Music Lessons are also for you. Did you know that it is impossible to break a habit? You can only form a new habit that hopefully supersedes the bad one. Start with good habits. Start with music lessons.

For information about our Lesson Programs, click HERE.

Combine…

Add listening to music and playing a musical instrument together, and the result is described in this video:

Recapitulation (ask your new lessons teacher about this word)…

Music is a combined effort of your learning, listening and lessons. You may catch on to this whole music thing real quick or real slow. The truth is, it does not make a difference. The amount of fun and enjoyment you will experience when you play your instrument should be the same for the beginner as it is for the professional. In fact, it gets better the more proficient you get at your instrument.

Before you click on the sign to the right and schedule your lessons and start practicing, we will leave you with another quote by T.S. Elliot:

You are the music while the music lasts.


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New Teacher Alert!

Willis Music Lexington is happy to welcome Chase Clark to their team of qualified teachers. Chase has been working as the Willis Music Lexington Band Rep since the spring, and is happy to teach during the evenings! Read more about Chase below and click here to sign up for lessons today.

 

 

As an educator, Chase has taught at various schools and music camps throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Teaching with his first instrument, the trombone, Chase has appeared as a guest instructor at prestigious music programs such as Lafayette High School, Beaumont Middle School, Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, and John Hardin High School. Chase also has taught at the Annie Moses Band’s Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, TN since 2010. This fine arts camp trains 200-250 students in which Chase is the primary trombone and low brass instructor, jazz big band section instructor, and a member of the faculty performing groups. As well as teaching across Kentucky and Tennessee, Chase maintains a successful trombone studio of emerging talent in the Lexington, Kentucky area. As a performer, Chase has appeared with an extensive variety of musical groups such as the University of Kentucky’s Opera Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, the Annie Moses Band, Wycliffe Gordon, and Grammy-award winning artist Bob Mintzer. Chase also recorded with Bob Mintzer on the album “Go” which released in 2011. Chase also joined with the Annie Moses Band to perform in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and the Grand Ole Opry House in 2013. He currently can be heard as lead trombone/soloist with local artists in the Lexington area such as the jazz big band the MetroGnomes, the oldies rock group Big City Groove, and the Lexington Community Orchestra.

 

 

New Teacher Alert!

We are excited to welcome Krista Weiss as a new teacher in our Kenwood and Florence locations. Krista teaches Clarinet and Bass Clarinet. Read more about Krista below and click here to register for lessons today!

Krista Weiss currently serves as principal clarinet of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and second clarinet of the Richmond Indiana Symphony. An active freelancer, Krista has recently performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Opera, Lexington Philharmonic, Kentucky Symphony, South Bend Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and New World Symphony, as well as on dozens of recordings for the Hal Leonard Corporation. Krista attended Indiana University where she received both her Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Clarinet Performance. She has also spent several summers participating in music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Chautauqua Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Marrowstone Music Festival. During the 2010-2011 academic year Krista served as the clarinet instructor at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, teaching a full studio of undergraduate and graduate students and performing with the ISU Faculty Woodwind Quintet. She currently serves as a Reserve Method Clinician for D’Addario Woodwinds and has traveled to dozens of schools across the Midwest to give clinics on clarinet fundamentals and equipment. Krista enjoys teaching clarinetists of all ages and abilities and maintains a private studio in the Cincinnati area.

 

Parents, Are You Listening?

Calling all parents…

How You Can help school Music Programs

Do you ever hear about your child’s school band? Unless your child is in the music program at school, would you know about it? That is an important question to ask. We know about sports in schools because that is what is pushed within the school advertising methods. They use flyers, announcements, rallies, social media and more. Ask your child when was the last time the morning announcements included a song from the band? I don’t remember any when I was in school (full disclosure: I’m in my late thirties). I think this is the norm because musicians and novices have been pigeon-holed in to a “secret society” full of stereotypes and preconceived notions… but that is for another blog in the future. The leading question is: why can’t we share our plays like the football team? Why can’t we share our successes and failures? I’ll tell you why! Musicians aren’t good at marketing. What if when a song is performed in class, it is recorded and shared through out the school? What if a recording of the music concerts were shared with the world (while still abiding by copyright policies)? What if parents could here the improvement of there children through out the year? What if all of these answers could also lead to raising a little money for the school program along the way?

These are all possible with the advancements in recording technology. You can get great recordings with only a little investment in equipment and without an extensive learning curve. Looking at Presonus product: you get the recording interfaces, the editing software and the ability to post to a cloud service to share. This opens the door for getting the music out there.

All it takes is one proud parent posting the concert to their Facebook page and the whole world can hear it. You don’t need to be a recording engineer anymore to share some quality music. If the band director doesn’t have the time to do the recording, start a recording club!

I would think with the world being so technology tethered and with all these classrooms using iPads and laptops, I am sure there are grants that will fund music technology. All we have to do is ask. If a grant can’t be secured, I say, as parents, let’s all join the PTA and push for funding technology in music.

I did not receive this epiphany until my daughter started middle school and I saw her choir instructor struggling. I immediately volunteered my services and whatever she needed… of course with Billsworld flair! I can see the Christmas production now: flaming lights and enough sound to fill a stadium!

In conclusion, If we want music, we have to drive it without relying on the school and the instructors. It is up to us as parents to make it fun and cool… just like we had it when we were in school!


Brought to you from Billsworld

Help Music Education In Your School!

Willis Music donates 5% of sales to schools…


The benefits of a good music education are being threatened. When schools are forced to make cutbacks they historically look first to the Arts and Music programs. Music is an important part of a complete, well rounded education and needs your help.

It’s time to make a difference.

Willis Music will donate 5% of your purchase towards future purchases to the school music program of your choice.

How can you help?

Pass this information on to your school administrators, teachers, booster organizations, students, private teachers and churches. Tell everyone you know. Drop your receipt with the schools name on it into the vessel at any of the Willis Music stores. All purchases from the stores or online can be used. Together we can make a difference!

Repairs, Rentals, Lessons, and Steinway do not apply.

Brought to you by Billsworld

Scientist find that singing is good for your body and soul.

After years of singing in church choirs it comes as no surprise that scientists have found that not only does singing in a choir makes you feel good, but it’s healthy for you too.

Physical Effects of Singing

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choir member’s heartbeats synchronize when they sing together, bring a calming effect that is as beneficial as yoga.  The scientist asked a group of teenagers to perform three choral exercises, humming, sing a hymn and chanting, while monitoring their heart rhythms during each exercise.  They showed that singing has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

“Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these,” says Dr. Vickhoff, who led the study.  “It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing.  It helps you relax,  and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit.”

Over the years, scientist have found that singing has a number of health benefits.  Cardiff University in 2012 found that lung cancer patients who sang in a choir had a greater expiratory capacity than those who didn’t.  Singing has also shown to boost the immune system, reduce stress levels.  According to a report published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004, singing helped patients cope with chronic pain.

“Singing delivers a host of physical and emotional benefits, including increased aerobic exercise, improved breathing, posture, mindset, confidence and self-esteem,” says Jeremy Hywel Williams, who leads the LLaneli Choral Society in Wales.

Psychological Effects of Singing.  Does Singing make you Happy?

In the United States, choral singing is the most popular of all arts related participatory activities.  Across the country, 28.5 million people regularly sing in one of 250,000 chorus groups.  Singing has some effects that other participatory activities don’t.  Specifically choral singing, which is where the most recent and surprising research has been done.

Some of the greatest connections between singing and happiness are more mental than physical.  They are harder to measure, but just as significant.  All types of singing have a positive psychological effects.  The act of singing releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals.  But of all types of singing it’s choral singing that seems to have the most dramatic effects on people’s lives.  Especially sacred choral groups, good old fashion church choirs.

A study published in Australia in 2008 revealed that on average, choir members rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public, even when the actual problems faced by those singers were more substantial than those faced by the general public.  A 1998 study found that after nursing home residents took part in a singing program for a month, there were significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels.  `

Choral singers need to concentrate on their music and technique throughout the singing process, and it’s hard to worry about things like work or money or family problems when you’re actively concentrating on something else.  So choral singer tend to have a built in ” stress free zone”.  Learning is also part of the process, learning a new song, new harmonies, etc.  helps keep the mind active and fends off depression.

The question remains, why choral singers specifically?  Concentration and deep breathing can happen in a recording studio, or the privacy of your own home.

It’s because some of the most important ties between singing and happiness are social ones.  The support system of being a part of a group, and the commitment to that group that gets people out of the house and into chorus every week- these are benefits that are specific to group singing.  In addition singing anthems with uplifting messages help the choir members with problems that often come along with being human in modern times.

So if you want to have a more fulfilling and longer life, join a choir. 

Many choirs are always looking for new members.  Summer time is the perfect time to join one.  The choir’s schedule is more relaxed, making it the perfect time to check it out.

The science doesn’t lie: singing really is better you health.

And, in the words of Ella Fitzgerald, ” the only thing better than singing – is more singing”.

 

 

New Piano Teacher in Louisville!

We have another new teacher to introduce. David Patrick is currently teaching in our Louisville location. David has lessons available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. See his schedule here. 

David Patrick was raised on a 120-acre farm where he grew up feeding chickens and performing tunes on the piano. After graduating from Bethlehem High School in 2008, he pursued music and writing at the University of Louisville where he finished his B.A. in English only three years later. With sixteen years of training and experience in music, he now lives with his beautiful wife Sarah Rose in Kentucky where they both compose music and sing together . Here are a few facts about David.

  1. Won SECOND PLACE at the school talent show in May 2001
  2. Won FIRST PLACE at the Kentucky State Performing Arts in May 2007
  3. Accepted into the most advanced Music Theory class at the University of Louisville School of Music in May 2008
  4. Offered position as store pianist at Von Maur in October 2012 (which is how I met my wife!)

Sign up for Lessons with David Today!

New Voice Teacher- Tonya Jenkins

We are very excited to have Tonya Jenkins on board teaching at our Lexington Location.

Tonya teachers voice lessons and is available any time of day on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Sign up for lessons Today!

I’m so happy you are considering vocal lessons! I have been singing since I was 5 years old. I entered every competition, choir and vocal group I could. When it was time to go to college, my Dad told me he would pay for my college education or an apartment in New York so I could audition for musicals. He was my biggest fan. I teach vocal conditioning and technique but most importantly I try to help instill confidence in each student. After college I performed for 10 years. I was the Music Director at a private school. I’ve been doing private vocal instruction since 1997. I’ve always sang at Church. I believe any talent is a gift from God. I try to give back any way I can. Music is truly my passion and I would love to work with you.

You can view Tonya’s Profile Here

 

New Teachers in West Chester- Sign up Today!

We have several exciting new teachers at our West Chester Moeller/Willis Music location. These four new teachers are a great addition to our lessons!

Shelia Gardner- View Profile Here!

Voice lessons, Thursday Evenings 

Register for Lessons With Shelia Today!

 

 

Keith Lykins- View Profile Here

Acoustic, Electric, and Classical Guitar- Saturday, Sunday, & Monday

Register for Lessons With Keith Today!

 

Josiah Wolf- View Profile Here!

Drums- Thursdays 

Register for Lessons With Josiah Today!

 

Mike Haid- View Profile Here!

Drums- Sundays

Register for Lessons With Mike Today!

 

 

To see all of the teachers at our West Chester location, Click Here

Or Click Here to find a teacher near you!

 

Rock away the Winter Blues!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting very tired of the sub-zero temperatures! One trick I have found to kicking those winter blues is music! Rocking out on your instrument is a great way to stay warm, and a great activity for those days when it’s too cold to go outside! This is a great time to start those music lessons you have been meaning to get around to! Across all of our stores, people are staying warm with music! We have so many great new teachers, you should come in and check them out! Don’t forget you can even sign up from the comfort of your own home by clicking this link! We can’t wait to share the warmth of music with you!

A Spooky Recital at Tri-County Mall!

Tom and Ellis

Many students  from our in-store lessons program came together on Thursday to showcase their skills to their families, friends and teachers.  We had several instruments represented including piano, saxophone and clarinet.

Performance opportunities are such an important aspect of the learning process.  It is great to have dedicated teachers in our store that jumped at the opportunity to invite their students to play in the recital. It is also great to see so many students eager to perform and showcase all they have learned.  It was a fun-filled and exciting evening – we hope to see you all at our next recital!

Check out more pictures on our Facebook page here.  Feel free to tag yourself!