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The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

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3/14/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Think of a West Music associate who creates lasting customer relationships, is always ready to help fellow associates in need of support, and consistently offers valuable product knowledge. Does the name John Williams come to mind?

John always has a “can do” attitude! He does a fantastic job addressing all customer questions and will find a path through any obstacle that may prevent them from achieving their musical needs and desires.

John is eager to offer support to our associates and will do everything possible to help them be successful within their West Music careers. Prior to my tenure at West Music, I personally had the opportunity to work with John Williams in a sales setting. John’s relaxed sales approach, vast product knowledge, and great sense of humor made it extremely easy for me to ask, “why would I not buy this?!”

A customer recently commented “He set aside some parts that came into the West Music Cedar Rapids store for me that I found out are no longer made, but fit my very old Clavinova perfectly!” This is just one of many examples of John’s commitment to customer service.

John’s leadership and customer focus are just a few of his strengths. He is an inspiration for all of us here at West Music!

Congratulations, John, and thanks for all you do!

As told by Jim Midcalf,
Director of Regional Sales

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3/7/2017 8:46:00 AM  

Have you ever played an acoustic concert grand piano with no strings? Or perhaps you've played a digital piano with a full acoustic piano action? Chances are, neither of these things have ever happened to you, but Yamaha has the perfect instruments for those who crave the realism of an acoustic piano, along with the benefits of a digital.

The Yamaha AvantGrand and Hybrid pianos offer the perfect balance of playing both an acoustic grand piano and a digital piano. These pianos are the only non-acoustic instruments in the world that employ real acoustic actions. These specially-designed piano actions allow for a more responsive playing experience than that of a digital piano, and replicate the touch and feel of an acoustic piano without the cost or maintenance of tuning, regulations, and voicing.

Join us for Musical Mornings on St. Patrick's Day, Friday March 17th, at 9am at West Music Quad Cities in Moline. West Music's Certified Piano Consultant Patrick Downing will lead a presentation all about the incredible technology and features of the Yamaha Hybrid pianos. See how these instruments truly are everything you need from a digital, and everything you want from an acoustic!

Who? Piano players and enthusiasts
What?
Yamaha Hybrid Pianos Presentation
When? St. Patrick's Day Morning - Friday, March 17th at 9am
Where? West Music Quad Cities
Why? This is your chance to experience Yamaha Hybrid pianos! Discover the perfect balance of acoustic and digital performance.

Yamaha Hybrid Piano

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3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Mitchell Logan is a 4th grader within the West Des Moines School District. He has been a piano student at West Music studying under Janet Winship for 2 years. Along with the piano, Mitchell plays the recorder, as well as the viola in the West Des Moines beginning orchestra program.

Janet Winship believes Mitchell deserves recognition because “Mitchell is an active participant in class and highly motivated. He pays attention to the details and memorizes his music quickly and carefully. Time flies in class and always makes us wish we had more time to play piano.” Mitchell loves playing music because “It’s very satisfying to learn a new song and completely get it.” One of his musical goals is to become a better viola and recorder player.

While away from the piano bench, Mitchell participates in Taekwondo Team JETT and an awesome light saber club! Some of his other interests include playing with nerf guns, LEGOs, and traveling. Mitchell’s favorite musician is Lindsey Stirling who is known for her Dubstep violin original song “Crystallize”. One surprising fact we learned about Mitchell is that he had surgery on his stomach when he was a baby. Whoa!

Congrats, Mitchell!!

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3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM  
Dog Music Note DrawingJosie Fullenkamp is 10 years old and has been taking violin lessons with Gayla Drake at West Music Coralville for almost three years. She plays in the school orchestra, also plays flute in her school band and loves all music!

Her teacher has this to say about Josie:

Josie is a very inspiring person to work with. She loves the violin so much that she once said, upon entering the String Shop, "Ahh, the smell of my people!" She has really helped to shape my studio into a community through her introduction of Notey the Naughty Dog cartoon and fan club. I feel so lucky to spend time with her every week.

Josie’s musical goal is to play the violin fast and with fluency.  She loves music because of “the vibe and how you react. It is like the wind is music and you are a willow tree.” Her advice to other musicians is to never stop doing what you love most. Her favorite music is from Les Misérables, Hamilton, Lindsey Sterling plus other pop, classics and hip hop hits. 

A busy 5th grader - Josie also enjoys skiing, drawing, dancing, kickball and reading “The Warrior” series. She is a fan of wolves (and huskies), mountains and loves spending time with friends and family (including her dog, Jake). She often draws her cartoon characters and music lessons on the studio white-board at lessons. “I enjoy drawing the musical sensation of West Music, Notey the Dog!”

Great job, Josie!

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2/10/2017 9:48:00 AM  

Caring for your string instrument isn’t hard if you understand a few basics! Read what our orchestra instrument experts have to say, or download this handy PDF.

String Care Tips

Remember that your instrument is made of wood and can easily be damaged if not handled with care. Bumping the instrument against another object may damage the wood, cause the bridge to slide out of alignment, or cause the sound post (found inside instrument) to fall down. Bridges and sound posts are not glued in place, but are held by the pressure of the strings, which allows them to be replaced and adjusted as needed. If an accident should happen, bring your instrument to a West Music Repair Shop for service.

The Fittings

Pegs may stick in humid weather and not hold well in dry conditions. Pegs that won’t hold may need to be pushed in gently while tuning
it to the proper pitch. Pegs may slightly back out and loosen if turned without applying this gentle inward pressure.

The Chinrest

Changes in humidity may cause shrinking and swelling of the instrument and may cause the chinrest to become loose. In this event, please take care to tighten the arms of the chinrest in a clockwise motion, to secure the chinrest tighter to the instrument. A little goes a long way, only tighten enough to reduce movement.

Tailpiece/Fine Tuners

Check the fine tuners very closely to ensure there is plenty of screw space height to adjust the pitch. Be aware that the tuning arms located behind the tailpiece are not pushing into the top of your instrument. The tailpiece’s tail gut or wrap should be centered and fastened very securely to the end-pin or end-button of your instrument.

Fingerboard

During play, rosin can make its way onto your fingerboard as well as your instruments top. After each practice session, take care to wipe down the fingerboard and strings to remove rosin and dust to prolong the life of your strings.

The Wood

Wood may expand in humid weather and contract as it dries which can affect how your instrument functions. Do not leave your instrument in a car during extreme hot or cold weather as this can damage the instrument and the finish.

The Case

Don’t try to force the case lid shut!Most instrument cases are only large enough to hold the instrument, bow, rosin, and small accessories such as a mute or pitch pipe. Only store objects such as pens and pencil in the accessory compartment of your case, otherwise they may damage the instrument when the case is closed. Shoulder rests are best carried separately unless there is ample room in the case or the case has a compartment to hold it. Papers or music stored in the case may squeeze against the instrument causing the bridge to break or the instrument to crack.

The Bow

Rosin is applied to the bow hair to create friction on the strings and make them vibrate. The bow hair should not be touched because rosin will not stick if oils from your skin get on the bow. Not getting enough rosin on the bow will result in faint and squeaky sounds. If too much rosin is used it will come off the bow and stick to the instrument. Wipe excess rosin off the instrument with a soft cloth.

When putting the bow away, loosen the hair a little so it is not as tight as when you are playing. Leave slight tension to help keep the hair from getting caught on something, but not warp the bow. Cleaning your hands before and after use will help the bow hair last longer.

The Strings

Every time you play and sometimes in the middle of practices and performances your instrument may need to be tuned. Over time the strings will stretch, wear out, and
sometimes break. Strings have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced when they get frayed, damaged, corroded, or have lost their tone. Replace with the same brand for consistent sound. Keeping your hands clean before and during use will help the strings last.

If you should notice a problem with your instrument, bring it in as soon as possible to be serviced. Repairs to string instruments can take just a few minutes, several hours or sometimes several weeks, so don’t wait until it is too late! Contact your local West Music store to schedule a repair or complete our online Instrument Repair Form.


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2/10/2017 9:14:00 AM  
Jeremy JacobsWest Music is proud to introduce its newest luthier, Jeremy Jacobs!  Jeremy has set up shop at West Music Cedar Rapids and has already gotten to work fixing guitars and other stringed instruments from around the community. Along with Bruce Vanderschel and Kevin Halbrooks in Coralville and Tony Carducci in Quad Cities, Jeremy is a key player in our fretted instrument repair team!

Jeremy is a Marion, IA native who describes music as his passion.  He has been fixing guitars since his days at Linn-Mar High School, and kicked off his professional career almost a decade ago as a guitar repair tech at Guitar Center. He is Expert Level Certified in many types of fretted instrument repair including restrings/setups, basic and advanced wiring, structural repair, and fret work.  While Jeremy will admit the guitar is his favorite instrument (he owns several Les Pauls, Explorers and Flying Vs), he can repair or setup almost anything with strings, including orchestral instruments such as violins and cellos. 


Jeremys GuitarsJeremy is also a professional musician in his own right. He has performed on electric guitar alongside some of the greatest musicians in the Cedar Rapids area and has recorded with several local bands. The two main guitars he uses on stage are ones he built himself! He started off with just a blank body and neck, and assembled them using spare parts he was able to find. He even drew his own designs on them using a Sharpie.
When asked what made him excited about being at West Music, he answered getting to be on the same team as people like Bruce, Kevin and Tony. Bruce is known for his incredible ability to fix and refinish older, more delicate guitars, and Kevin and Tony have both created one-of-kind instruments for professional musicians.

Jeremy gives the following instrument care tips to any string player out there. First, it’s important to humidify your stringed instrument in dry weather.  Second, if you are bringing your instrument in from the cold, let it warm up before playing.  Finally, bring your guitar and other stringed instruments to him for regular maintenance!

If you’re interested in getting your strings fixed by Jeremy or any of our luthiers, please give us a call or complete our Fetted Instrument Repair Form.


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2/7/2017 8:32:00 AM  

Piano maintenance advice and tips by Nelda Wittig, West Music Piano Consultant.

Piano Care

You may have just made an investment in a piano or you have had one for years. Learn how to properly maintain your piano in the Midwest where temperatures dip and humidy is difficult to keep level. Since 85% of a piano is made of wood, it is important that your piano keeps a consistent humidity level between 40-50%. Just like a living tree that responds to the environment, the wood in your piano will respond to the ever changing environment in your home.

When the humidity inside your home drops below the ideal of 40-50% humidity, you may notice some changes in the piano—some minor; some costly.

Wooden action parts shrink when they become too dry, and they become loose and start to rattle and make noise.  This puts early wear on your action and repairs in your future!

Cracks may appear in the soundboard (the heart of a piano), or on the bridges, or in the pin block.  Any of these cracks can be a costly fix.

Pitch and tone will fluctuate with the dry environment. 

What’s the solution? A humidifier system can be installed in your upright or grand piano and will keep the soundboard area constant. We suggest installing a dual system which will remove excess moisture in the air and will also add moisture if needed. You may want to also purchase a hygrometer to keep in or nearby your piano to have a continuous readout of humidity. Your piano will thank you!

Our experts at West Music are available to install a humidifier system into almost any piano, or answer any you might have about the care of your instrument. Contact your local West Music store for more information.

Learn more about West Music's piano galleries and services: pianos.westmusic.com


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2/3/2017 4:15:00 PM  
Whether on the phone, electronically, or face-to-face, Shivhan provides EXCEPTIONAL customer service to flutists everywhere. Her product knowledge, skill as a professional player, and experience contribute to her amazing ability to turn customers’ words about what they are looking for into a tangible item. Want a dark sound with chocolaty harmonics, substantial resistance, flexibility, and a fluid mechanism? Poof! Shivhan has the perfect flute for you.

We frequently hear how much customers and our dealers appreciate her thoroughness and care. Those of us who have the privilege of working with her feel the same way. Not only does Shivhan do a great job of serving each and every customer, but she backs this up with a high level of attention to detail. She has most of our inventory serial numbers memorized to the point where we are considering renaming her Shivision. Ok, I might be going too far with the nickname, but it’s true that she memorizes serial numbers! Quiz her sometime and prepare to be amazed.

Shivhan loves what she does, which is clearly demonstrated through her actions. Thanks for your positivity, your enthusiasm, and your commitment to bringing your A-game every day, Shivhan!

Congratulations, Shivhan, and thanks for all you do!

As told by Cathy Miller,
Vice President

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1/18/2017 9:43:00 AM  
We are happy to announce Chris Eck as the West Music December 2016 Associate of the Month!

Chris is being recognized for his passionate pursuit of all of West Music’s education efforts that reflect our mission to help customers play now and play for life. In the past year, Chris has led West Music’s Lesson Program to add new team members and teachers, create and refine curriculums for our group lessons and classes, and managed to teach his own lessons and classes as well! He does all this with focus, quiet encouragement and support, and active collaboration with many team members in the company and our larger musical community.

But don’t just take my word for it, other West Music associates notice Chris’s great ability to play well with others too!

“Chris is an amazing asset to West Music…It seems Chris has built meaningful relationships with every person he has been in contact with, sharing his undivided attention and care to meet their needs.”

“My mother came to town around Thanksgiving and I surprised her with her very own ukulele. I had mentioned to Chris that I had bought her a uke and he offered to give her a free lesson while she was in town. She loved every minute! She’s never played a instrument in her entire life. She’s still talking about it and she practices everyday. Thank you Chris for making her feel special and proving that you can learn an instrument at any age!”

“Chris does such a great job coordinating the Lesson Program and working with the Studio Coordinators. He is always so willing to go out of his way to help anybody in any way he can.”

- As told by Ryan West,
Senior Vice President

Congratulations Chris! Keep up the good work and thank you for making our mission a reality every day!

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1/2/2017 3:17:00 PM  

Morgan Sullivan has studied piano with teacher Emily Walter for 1 year. Morgan is a 4th grader within the Johnston community who loves learning new things every day and sets goals to play challenging songs on the piano.

Some of Morgan’s other artistic interests involve playing the recorder, dancing, singing, and writing. Her favorite musician is Taylor Swift and she loves listening to pop music. Morgan also participates in gymnastics and soccer. Fun facts about Morgan: She was born in Milwaukee and she is left-handed.

Emily Walter referred Morgan for Musician of the Month because “Morgan always comes to her piano lesson prepared and with a great attitude! She is a hard worker and is wonderful at taking risks to learn new songs.” Morgan’s advice to other musicians: “Be patient because you need to learn the easy songs before you play the harder songs.”

Good advice, Morgan! Congratulations!


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1/2/2017 3:09:00 PM  
Ian Wolverton-Weiss is an 8th grader in the community and is a clarinet student of Bart Yates. He has studied clarinet with Bart for 1 ½ years.

Bart nominated Ian for Musician of the Month because, “Ian was accepted to IBA (an honor band for the best 8th grade players in the state) and has been playing very well. He is also a joy to teach.”

Ian’s musical goals are to be accepted to All State Band and Choir. His advice to other musicians is to have a positive attitude. Ian is in show choir, choir and soccer. He also enjoys participating in musicals. He likes Legos, biking, skiing and Star Wars. His favorite musician is Charlie Puth and Ian likes melodic piano music.

You might be surprised to learn that Ian went to school in London once and is the least picky eater he knows. He will eat anything!

Congratulations, Ian! 

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1/2/2017 3:02:00 PM  
Geneva has been a vocal student in the West Music Lessons program since she was 14 years old, studying with instructor Alice Feldmann for nearly 7 years!  She frequently shares her talents by participating in community recitals, accompanied by her teacher on the piano. 

Geneva is 20 years old, and her goal is to become a United States Marine.  When she is not making music she is often at work or working out with her squad. 

Her teacher, Alice Feldmann, is very proud of Geneva and has this to say about working with her:

“Geneva possesses the widest range of any voice student I've ever worked with.  She has a whistle register that is very uncommon.  An example of this sort of register would be Maria Carey who happens to hold the World record for the widest register.  Geneva is just about 5 notes from that record. Geneva loves to sing whenever and wherever she can and has been very involved with the West Music's Weekend Warriors."

Congratulations, Geneva!

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12/7/2016 3:34:00 PM  
Congratulations to the entire PASIC team for an outstanding job at the show! We had the best customer service team at show, outshining the other exhibitors. Customers noticed and were attracted to our booth, wanting to be able to test, review, and talk to our team about the products they were about to purchase. It was truly an interactive customer experience that everyone appreciated. The proof was in the sales and number of green Percussion Source bags milling around the floor, a whopping 400!

Our PASIC rookies John and Megan went through trial by fire (or should I say drumstick!) They had the hang of it in no time and were helping customers left and right. Megan rocked it by helping folks qualify for our PASIC promotions and John helped us break new ground at Bands of America, reaching even more new faces.

Eric was Master of the Stick Towers, helping find specific models and encourage testing on the snare drums (and moving some too!) Whether it be tambourine, mallet or triangle inquiries, Alex was the man, managing to keep a watchful eye over the booth at all times too! Adam made new friends and was able to connect names with faces of loyal customers who have shopped with us for years. He has quite the following, some customers have photo requests with him!

This PASIC crew was truly awesome. Everyone pitched in where needed as soon as they saw a customer in need. High five to all.

- As told by Lauren Calkin,
Percussion Source
Director of Customer Relations

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12/6/2016 7:51:00 AM  
7 Tips to Keep Playing


practice timeYour child just got through their first big concert of the year and is now looking forward to a relaxing winter break. The last thing on their mind is practicing their instrument. As parents, it’s hard to help keep our kids motivated while school is out, but it’s important to remember that even though concert season is over for now, music season is never over!

At West Music we have seen that students who practice their instruments over school breaks, even just for a few minutes every day, retain lessons better and develop new skills quicker. When school gets back in session, students who have practiced are less rusty and more excited to learn.

It’s sometimes hard to find the time to practice or stay motivated during school breaks, but West Music educators have put together this list of their seven best tips to help your child keep playing all winter long!


1. Break practice out into 5-10 minutes.
Finding the time to practice is difficult, especially during the holidays. By breaking up longer practice sessions into short 5 to 10 minute sprints, you and your child will be more likely to find the time to get it done!

2. Set goals.
With each practice session have a specific goal in mind for your child, even if it’s just practicing one or two cords. Setting small goals will add up to huge accomplishments!

practing at home

3. Keep your child’s instrument out (in a safe place).
Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? That’s exactly what happens when you pack up your child’s instrument in its case and put it into the closet. Instead keep it out somewhere out of the way but where your young musician will see it every day.

4. Let your child pick their practice time, and then stick with it.
One of the many skills music teaches children is self-discipline. Let them choose what time they want to practice, but once a time is chosen have them stick to it as best as possible.  Even if they have to miss a practice session or two because of holiday events, it helps build the habit of practicing regularly.

5. Be excited for your child.
If you see practice time as dull, so will your kids. Be in the room when your child practices and encourage them when they feel like giving up. When they do finally master a song, or even just a new note, show genuine pride and excitement in their accomplishments.

6. Game-ify Practice.
Many music teachers suggest making a game out of difficult passages that could otherwise get frustrating. One of the most popular games involves pennies (but M&Ms or Skittles work just as well). Put 3 to 10 pennies on the left side of their music stand. Each time your kids get the passage right, they can move a penny to the right side. Once they get all the pennies to the other side, they can finish practicing and take their reward!

7. Play with the instrument.
You don’t always need to follow the song book.  Encourage your child to make up their own song. It encourages creativity and makes learning more fun!

 

Need more advice? West Music is here for you!

Call our music experts at 1-800-397-9378


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12/1/2016 8:32:00 AM  
Charlie LaCroix has been studying piano with Dr. Asia Grant for 2 ½ years. He is a 3rd grader in the West Des Moines community and he is preparing for his first recital in December. Along with playing piano, Charlie’s musical goals include playing percussion in the 5th grade band.

While away from the piano bench, Charlie can be found playing basketball, reading, and writing stories, as well as supporting his sister, Anna, who plays violin. Dr. Grant nominated Charlie for Musician of the Month as “he is exceptionally dedicated and a very quick learner.”

Congratulations, Charlie!

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12/1/2016 8:26:00 AM  
Lauren is a piano student of Alice Lindsey. Alice nominated Lauren because she says, ”Lauren is a relatively new student but already she is in Lesson 6 of Book One. She practices, brings well prepared lessons, and accomplishes much during the lesson.” 

Lauren is a 5th grader in Cedar Rapids. She loves that you can encourage others with playing music and that it is fun. Her other interests include: gymnastics, volleyball and she also plays the clarinet!

She listens to all different kinds of music and likes them all.

Great job, Lauren! Keep up the good work!

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12/1/2016 8:20:00 AM  
Emma Schaffer is currently a senior in high school. She has been taking piano lessons with Virginia Lee for the past two years. Emma says she plays music because it clears her head and it makes her happy. She plays up to two hours every day because it just makes her feel good!

Emma plays both the piano and guitar, and her goal is to learn the ukulele before high school graduation. Emma also volunteers at Covenant Hospital and is a host at LJ’s. Her favorite musicians are the bands Twenty One Pilots and the Chainsmokers. Something that might surprise others to hear is that she is pretty good at playing by ear and memorizing music compared to reading music. Her advice to other musicians is to practice and find a teacher who motivates you to improve.

Virginia Lee appreciates Emma’s positive personality and constant smile. She is prepared for her lessons so accomplishes quite a lot in a short amount of time. Emma’s motivation and enthusiasm for learning also inspire her as a piano teacher to keep her lessons fresh and new every day.

Way to go, Emma!

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12/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
A native of Olympia, Washington trombonist Caleb Lambert began his studies on baritone in the 5th grade and later took up trombone in the 6th grade on the advice of his band teacher.  After moving to Chicago in 2007 Mr. Lambert earned both a bachelor’s degree in trombone performance and a master of music in orchestral studies from Roosevelt University where he studied with Jay Friedman and Peter Ellefson. In addition to his duties as 2nd trombone for Orchestra Iowa, Mr. Lambert is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa where he teaches undergraduate trombone lessons in addition to coaching various brass ensembles. As an active performer he has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque symphony, South Bend Symphony, Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, New Chicago Brass, Chicago Arts Orchestra, and many others.

Just as comfortable on valves as he is with his slide Mr. Lambert was the Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Chicago Brass Festival’s Solo Competition on euphonium and can often be seen performing on euphonium and bass trumpet in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. 

As a former member of the Axiom Brass Quintet Mr. Lambert taught classes in chamber music and trombone pedagogue at some of America’s leading music conservatories including the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, New England Conservatory, University of the Pacific, Southern Oregon University, University of Las Vegas, Western Illinois University, California State University, Sacramento, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and many more.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Caleb Lambert through December!


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12/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Carly was nominated by her percussion teacher, Brian Cooper. She’s been in lessons with him for approximately 6 months, playing drums and bells. She also plays bass in her school orchestra and studies piano with Jason Sifford in the West Music lessons program. 

Carly is 11 years old and in the 5th grade. She wants to learn to play many instruments! She likes attending concerts, playing songs she knows, and sharing her music with others. Her favorite musicians are Joan Jett, Train, Tom Petty and other rock music. She is also interested in Art, Pokémon cards, hanging out with sisters and friends.

Her teacher, Brian Cooper, has this to say about working with Carly:

"Carly rocks! She's a multi-instrumentalist, also playing piano and bass. In the short time I've known her as a drum student she has shown great dedication and impressive growth as a percussionist with a very bright future. She is as great of a person as she is a musician!" 

Congratulations, Carly!

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11/14/2016 5:04:00 PM  

With the holidays fast approaching, many parents are thinking about what to give their children. Musical instruments and music themed gifts make wonderful presents for youngsters. Not only is making music fun, it helps develop growing minds! Below are 10 gift ideas, all available at West Music, that your kids will be sure to love.

Over the River with Sleigh Bells Bundle

This classic winter song comes to life in this beautifully illustrated children’s book. Sold in hardcover, so it’s durable for many trips to grandmother’s house. Buy the bundle and receive a set of sleigh bells, so your kids can jingle along with the story.

 

Kala Makala Dolphin Bridge & Shark Bridge Ukuleles

Simply the best entry level ukes on the market! Sound and playability usually suffer at these affordable prices, but not with Kala Makala.  With their brightly colored head and body and a playful dolphin or cool shark cutout at the bridge, these ukes are sure to be a big hit.

West Music carries over 16 different colors, so pick your child’s favorite!

Kala Makala Dolphin Bridge & Shark Bridge Ukuleles

 


Drummer Boy Bundle

In this charming Christmas story a toy drummer boy embarks on a journey on which he plays his drum and warms the hearts of everyone he meets. Richly illustrated by beloved children’s author Loren Long.

The bundle also includes a PlanToys 7" drum and sticks for added fun!

Instruments for Ages 3 and Younger

Shakers, clappers and castanets! These seeming simple instruments help develop sensorimotor skills and hand-eye coordination in babies and toddlers, as well as instill a life-long love of music.

West Music has a full line of instruments and toys for children under 3.

Percussion

Shakers

Castanets

Mini Rainmakers

Our early childhood educators love the Mini Rainmaker for babies and toddlers.  Only 8” tall, the Mini Rainmaker is perfect for small hands.

West Music’s child educator Melissa says, “In teaching early childhood music and movement for over 15 years, I’ve never found an infant or a toddler who wasn’t fascinated by these rainmakers.”

 




Westwood Beginner Guitar Pack

Don’t play Guitar Hero, be a guitar hero! Buy a beginner guitar pack for your child and let them explore the world of music.  Guitars are available in half, three-quarters and full size. The pack also includes My Guitar, multimedia lesson software that teach your child basic chores in a fun and playful way. The pack also includes a gig bag, guitar strap and strap end pin.

½ Size Beginner Guitar Pack  for ages 5-8 or height between 3'10" to 4'5" tall

¾ Size Beginner Guitar Pack for ages 8-12 or height between 4'6" to 4'11" tall

Full Size Guitar Pack  for ages 12 & up or height of 5' or taller



Children’s Literature

The value of children's literature is immeasurable! Not only does reading encourage a vivid imagination, it stimulates the part of the brain that deals with developing language.

West Music carries a full line of music-themed children’s literature that will sure to delight your child as they clap, stomp and sing along with the characters in the books.

Remo Drums

Remo Drums are some of the best on the market. Available in a variety of styles and designs, you are sure to find the right percussion for any age group, from pre-schoolers to adults.







Harmony Traditional Style Soprano Recorders

These bestselling recorders are the perfect way to introduce your child to wind instruments. Available in a variety of bright colors and sold at a great value, these are the perfect gift for children ages eight and up. West Music also sells a variety of music books to help your child master their first song before the New Year!

 




Ornaments

Hanging ornaments is a tradition everyone in the family enjoys. Show your love of music by decorating with these beautiful ornaments available now for the holidays. You will be amazed at their level of detail. For just one example, the piano ornament featured here has a fallboard that actually opens and closes!



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11/1/2016 10:00:00 AM  
Ryan Swedean has come to us to teach low brass from South Dakota. He started playing trumpet in 4th grade then switched to baritone. In high school he switched to tuba which he still plays with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. In college he switched to trombone.

Ryan has his degree Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance from the University of South Dakota. He has done graduate work in trombone performance at North Dakota State University. He is working on his Masters of Music in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and hopes to have it complete by August 2016.

Ryan subs in various districts around the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas.

He currently plays with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. Some groups Ryan has performed with in the past include the Beach Boys, Train and other classical and jazz artists.

His hobbies and interests include playing trombone, watching Netflix with his wife, and playing with his dog.

His favorite thing about teaching is seeing a student’s face when they make the real sound of their instrument. One of his most interesting educational experiences has been teaching in one of the poorest counties in the country.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Ryan Swedean through November!


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11/1/2016 10:00:00 AM  
Merit Ringberg has been playing saxophone for 34 years and has been teaching private saxophone, clarinet and oboe lessons for 27 years. She graduated with a Music Education degree (BEI) from Augustana College. Merit has played with numerous ensembles at Augustana and has performed on the Paula Sand Life Show multiple times. She previously taught band at Hampton Elementary/Middle School for 2 years. Merit has also been a saxophone judge for IMEA. She has also played with the Quad City Wind Ensemble and currently plays with the Maple City Community Band. Merit has previously taught woodwinds at Augustana College, Griggs Music and now West Music. In her spare time she likes to spend time with her family, going to concerts and reading.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Merit Ringberg through November!


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11/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
We are happy to announce James Fleming as the West Music October 2016 Associate of the Month!

Since James started with West Music, he has helped lead the Mezzanine through a very successful and organized rental season. With the help of a brand new rental program and process, James and his team successfully filled roughly 1,300 rental instruments this past fall.

Always staying on top of store audits and having a non-existing wait list, his attitude and calm personality, and his willlingness and eagerness to learn, makes him an asset to West Music.

James is willing to take on any challenge that is put in front of him, all the while exceeding expectations.

The fall rental season is always busy for everyone. This past season, James made a challenging and stressful time seem easy.

- As told by Alex Beamer,
Director of Regional School Music

Congratulations James! Keep up the good work, and thanks for all you do!

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11/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  

Rana Saba is a 4th grade student in Coralville. She has been taking voice lessons with Jessica Saunders at West Music for almost a year. Her teacher, Jessica, has this to say about working with her:

“Rana is an exceptional student. Since starting lessons she has performed on many recitals and completed two theory work books. She has a lovely voice and wants to learn all she can!”

Rana loves to sing because it is fun! She likes to learn about the notes because it is interesting and also helps in her school music class.  She has some great advice to share with other musicians: “Work hard and listen to the teacher, practice until you can sing without the words, and try to pretend there is nobody there when there is a recital (when you're nervous)."

Her favorite musicians are Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and Katy Perry.  She also loves the music from Annie and Disney movies. Her favorite animal is the Red Panda.  In Rana’s free time she enjoys gymnastics, swimming, computers, comics, playing with dogs, and eating ice cream! Rana has lived in three countries and speaks English, Arabic and, some German.

Congratulations, Rana! Great job!


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11/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Lizzie is a bass guitar and ukulele student of Billy Lee Janey and has been studying with him for two and a half years. Lizzie is a senior at Xavier High School.  Her musical goal is to finish her high school music career with Division 1 ratings in concert and marching bands. Her advice to other musicians is to "practice, but go into it thinking 'this is going to be fun not work!'” She is obsessed with how music can drastically affect the way you think and feel in a matter of minutes. "It’s a stress relief for me and overall feels better after a band rehearsal or music lesson."

Lizzie is involved in marching band, concert and jazz bands, show choir, and combo groups. She enjoys mock trials and tutoring in school. Her other interests include biking, reading, and camping. She likes to hang out at the Newbo Market area here in Cedar Rapids.

Her favorite musicians and composers include Joni Mitchell, Claude Debussy, and The Smiths.

You might be surprised to learn that Lizzie has an embarrassingly large collection of vinyl records!

Congratulations Lizzie! Keep up the great work!

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