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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.

The West Music Blog

Steinway Extravaganza 2016 Featuring Anderson and Roe
By West Music Company
10/8/2016 8:00:00 AM  

Join us for a week of fun and celebration of Steinway & Sons pianos!

Please mark your calendars for October 9th – October 15 and get ready for this year’s Steinway Extravaganza! We are pleased to announce this year that we will back to our roots, and hosting a large portion of events at the University of Iowa School of Music in downtown Iowa City. We are very proud to be able to help introduce the School of Music to our local musical communities.

As always, the Extravaganza will feature a series of concerts and recitals highlighting our wonderful University of Iowa piano faculty and your students. This year, we are honored to host three very special opportunities to hear internationally renowned Steinway artists, Anderson and Roe! They will perform on Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm. Find out more about this dynamic duo at andersonroe.com.

This year’s calendar of events:

Sunday, October 9
  • 3:00pm – The University of Iowa piano faculty in concert presenting Bach’s “8 hands, 4 pianos” at the Music Building Concert Hall.
Thursday, October 13
  • 7:00pm – Anderson and Roe Meet and Greet Opportunity at West Music Coralville. Meet the artists, purchase memorabilia, like signed CDs, and experience an intimate concert from Anderson and Roe incorporating the new Steinway player piano system, Spirio.
Friday, October 14
  • 10:30am – Piano Pedagogy Workshop at the University of Iowa School of Music Building.
  • 7:30pm – Anderson and Roe in Concert at the University of Iowa School Music Building Concert Hall.
Saturday, October 15
  • 10:30am – Master class with Anderson and Roe and University of Iowa piano faculty at the School of Music Building.
  • 1:00pm – Informal student recital at the Senate Chamber in the Old Capitol.
  • 2:30pm – Formal/advanced student recital at the Senate Chamber in the Old Capitol.

We will have a large selection of Steinway and Sons, Boston, and Essex pianos displayed at West Music Coralville all week with special-event pricing!

Tickets for Anderson and Roe in Concert are $15/adults and $5/students and are available through the Hancher Box Office.

Purchase Tickets Here


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Categories: Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards, West Music Coralville, Press Releases, piano
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LefreQue Distribution in North America
By West Music Company
2/9/2016 12:01:00 AM  
Photo: LefreQue-US Team (Top, left to right) Ryan West, Cathy Miller, Robin Walenta, Steve West (Bottom, left to right) Bert-Jan Reekers, Hans KuijtCoralville, IA – February 1, 2016 –  LefreQue US has been established as the distributor of lefreQue sound enhancers for North America. This signals a new collaboration between LefreQue BV of Hoogland, The Netherlands, and West Music Company of Coralville, Iowa.

“With many of the world’s top musicians endorsing the lefreQue products, we are excited to expand awareness and support throughout North America. We see this as a great opportunity for all wind players, as players at every level can benefit.” – said Cathy Miller, Vice President.

What is a lefreQue?
The lefreQue is a sound bridge that enhances the sound on all wind instruments. It consists of a uniquiely designed bridge that utlizes two metal elements created from carefully selected materials. The lefreQue repairs sound breaches which naturally occur as a result of the connection points in wind instruments. The lefreQue was invented by saxophone and flute player Hans Kuijt and has been embraced by musicians worldwide, including wind players in the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Learn more about lefreQue at lefreque.com.
About lefreQue Distribution
LefreQue US is seeking to expand the dealer network. These products were formally introduced into the US market in August 2015 at the National Flute Association Convention. Based on the resulting explosion of business, there is great anticipation for this revolutionary product to be in high demand. Interested parties should contact cmiller@lefreque-us.com for further information.

Learn more about lefreQue at lefreque.com.

Photo: LefreQue-US Team
(Top, left to right) Ryan West, Cathy Miller, Robin Walenta, Steve West
(Bottom, left to right) Bert-Jan Reekers, Hans Kuijt

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Tags: LefreQue, north america, sound solution, enhancer, wind instruments, Hans Kuijt, Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, National Flute Association Convention,
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West Music Honored with Retail Excellence Award
By West Music Company
12/17/2015 8:30:00 AM  

West Music, with headquarters in Coralville, IA was recently awarded a Retail Excellence award from Music, Inc. Each year, Music Inc’s Excellence Awards honors 10 retailers and 10 suppliers who go above and beyond in their businesses over the last year. Voted on by their peers, these winners are responsible for advancing the entire music products industry. To view the entire article, please visit musicincmag.com.

With seven retail locations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois and multiple e-commerce websites, West Music prides itself on being a complete music source whose products and services support lifelong music makers.  Such relationship-building with customers, suppliers, and associates is at the core of the company’s philosophy as it heads into its 75th year of doing business. West Music was founded in 1941 and currently employs 210 associates across all business units. 

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Music, Inc and from our peers. Our focus is on our customers’ experience and we want to be there for them from their very first musical experience. Additionally, we want to be there to help them as they become an intermediate and professional level musician. We are proud of our associates for all their hard work that goes into making our business as customer-centric as possible.”  says Robin Walenta, West Music President and CEO.

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Tags: Retail Excellence, Music, Inc, musicincmag.com, e-commerce, customer centric
Categories: Company Culture, Press Releases
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School Supplies and Guitar Restring Event - September 19th
By West Music Company
9/15/2015 12:24:00 PM  

West Music, in partnership with D'Addario Strings, will be offering a one day school supply donation and free restring event for electric guitars and acoustic six-string guitars. Participants only need to bring in school supplies donations for underprivileged students or a $5 donation. Staff will be on hand to help with restrings, and will also be available to provide advice on any additional repairs or setups.

Six-string electric guitars will be restrung with choice of D’Addario NYXL0942 or NYXL1046 strings and six-string acoustic guitars will be restrung with choice of D’Addario EXP16 or EXP17 coated strings. Customers are limited to a free restring of one of these instruments.

This exciting event will take place during store hours 10am - 5pm on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at the following West Music locations:

West Music Coralville
1212 5th Street
Coralville, Iowa 52241
School supplies and proceeds will be donated to the Crisis Center of Johnson County.

West Music Cedar Falls

6322 University Avenue
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613
School supplies and proceeds will be donated to the Waterloo Community School District.

West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
1398 Twixt Town Road
Marion, Iowa 52302
School supplies and proceeds will be donated to Streamline Kids.

West Music Quad Cities/Moline
4305 44th Avenue
Moline, Illinois 61265
$5.00 donation only. Proceeds will be donated to the Illinois Special Olympics.

For more information on this event please contact Kyle Ware, West Music Combo Merchandise Manager, at 319-351-2000 or at kware@westmusic.com.  

About D'Addario & Company
D’Addario & Company, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets complete lines of strings for fretted and bowed musical instruments, drumheads, drumsticks, drum practice pads, and guitar and woodwind accessories under the proprietary brand names D’Addario, Planet Waves, Rico, Evans Drumheads, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, and PureSound Percussion. The company also runs theLessonroom.com and Guitar.com. D’Addario products are marketed in approximately 120 countries. Connect with D'Addario on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and at daddario.com.

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Tags: Guiitar restring event, D'Addario, restring, guitar strings, donation, school supplies, back to school, back 2 school, Crisis Center of Johnson County, Waterloo Community School District, Streamline Kids, Illinois Special Olympics
Categories: Guitars & Folk, West Music Marion, West Music Quad Cities, West Music Cedar Falls, West Music Coralville, Press Releases
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NAMM Announces West Music as a Top 100 Dealer
By West Music Company
6/11/2015 10:46:00 AM  
Coralville, IA – June 9, 2015 –  The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently announced that West Music, headquartered in Coralville, IA, has been recognized as a Top 100 Dealer.  This recognition honors the industry's best, brightest, and most proactive music retailers.

"For the fifth straight year, West Music is honored to be recognized as a Top 100 Dealer by the National Association of Music Merchants. This perennial recognition is a direct result of our committed associates’ passion for delivering an outstanding customer experience through quality products and services and our belief that participation in music has a positive impact on every person’s life." said Robin Walenta, President of West Music.

Top 100 Dealer
The retail music product stores that receive the distinction of being a "Top 100 Dealer" are judged by a panel of industry experts on criteria including:

  • Showing a clear understanding that the success of a retail store is directly related to customer satisfaction.
  • Preparing for future success with sound planning, marketing and training initiatives.
  • Providing a retail experience worth returning for and recommending others to.
  • Designing a floor plan, merchandising and marketing that encourages repeat sales.
  • Using the web and social media in engaging, effective ways.
“The NAMM Top 100 Dealers go beyond running a successful business, they are ambassadors for music and music education in their communities,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “They generously share their passion for music with both longtime customers and those just beginning their musical journey. What they add to their communities can best be measured in the number of lives positively impacted through music.”

About NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry.  NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,900 members located in 100 countries.  NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation’s efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan.  For more information about NAMM, please visit namm.org, call 1.800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Tags: NAMM, NAMM Top 100, National Association of Music Merchants, namm.orgTop 100 Dealer, Music Retail, NAMM Foundation, Robin Walenta
Categories: West Music Coralville, Company Culture, Press Releases, Music Advocacy
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West Music Celebrates Iowa Music Therapy Awareness Week February 23-27, 2015
By West Music Company
2/23/2015 4:34:00 PM  

West Music, provider of music therapy services to the Central and Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois region since 1994,  is proud to announce its participation in Music Therapy Awareness Week, February 23 to February 27, 2015.  Music Therapy Awareness Week is intended to help educate the public about the benefits of music therapy for individuals in a wide variety of circumstances or settings. West Music will celebrate the week by honoring their on-staff music therapists, sharing with the community the benefits and value of music therapy, and by showcasing tools and products designed for music therapists and the therapy setting.  Additionally, Music Therapists from around the state of Iowa will gather at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 to educate state legislators about music therapy and its uses. 

About Music Therapy

Music therapy is the clinical and evidenced based use of music to achieve non-musical goals such as cognitive, emotional, social, and motor skills in addition to communication skills. A Music Therapist uses both instrumental and recorded music to help individuals work on these specific goal areas.  Individuals of all ages can participate in music therapy.  Therapists work with clients to develop a program that is unique to them and based off of their personal music preferences.  No prior musical knowledge or experience is required to participate and benefit from music therapy.

About Music Therapy Services at West Music

Music Therapy Services at West Music believes in the therapeutic value and benefits of music for all people.  West Music is dedicated to enhancing the lives of all clients through successful musical experiences that address specific needs with respect and dignity.  Music Therapy Services of West Music currently provides support and services to more than 500 clients weekly in a wide variety of settings including West Music studios, school systems, hospice, and private homes.  Music Therapy Services available through West Music include one to one individual therapy, small group therapy (3-6 people), large group therapy (6-12 people), recreational music classes and adaptive music lessons.  For more information about Music Therapy Services at West Music, please visit musictherapy.westmusic.com or contact Kelly Carlson, MA, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy Services at West Music at kcarlson@westmusic.com.

About West Music Company

Founded in 1941, West Music continues to fulfill its mission of creating musical communities by providing knowledge, products, and services people need to experience the power of making music!  West Music specializes in pianos, guitars, drums and percussion, band and orchestra instruments, and print music as well as offers music instruction, repair and music therapy services.  West Music has seven retail locations in Iowa and Illinois as well as award-winning ecommerce websites dedicated to servicing music education, percussion, and Latin music communities. For more information, visit westmusic.com or call 1-800-373-2000.

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Tags: Music Therapy, iowa music therapy awareness week, kelly carlson, music therapy services
Categories: Music Therapy, Press Releases
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Jim Brickman Live at The Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines on Feb. 12
By West Music Company
2/11/2015 11:19:00 AM  

West Music loves Jim! Not just any ordinary love…a long burning, passionate, musical love! Which Jim? You ask.  Jim Brickman of course!

It’s mutual for certain. That’s why you can catch Jim, right here in Iowa, on the second stop of his “Love Around The Piano Platinum Tour” at The Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, IA on Thursday, February 12th at 7.30 PM

In the last three decades Jim Brickman has grown into one of the world’s most commercially successful pop pianists. With four albums certified gold and over 7 million sold, Mr. Brickman has certainly solidified himself as one of the premier instrumental pianists of our time. On top of being wildly successful, Jim is a major proponent of the soothing and inspirational power of music. He believes music can shape the listener’s attitude and lifestyle and wants music to be a part of his fans’ everyday lives.

Along with several other companies and organizations, West Music is fortunate enough to frequently collaborate with Brickman. Stay tuned for updates on future concerts and in-store events.

For more information on Jim Brickman and a list of tour dates visit his website here: http://www.jimbrickman.com/

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Tags: Jim Brickman, Brickman, West Music. Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines, Platinum Tour, Love Around The Piano, Live, Piano, Adult Contemporary
Categories: West Music Piano Gallery, Company Culture, Press Releases, Music Advocacy
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West Music Welcomes Sam Marchuk as Music Education Consultant
By West Music Company
1/21/2015 9:30:00 AM  

Coralville, IA – January 20, 2015 – West Music Company is pleased to welcome Sam Marchuk as their newest Music Education Consultant.  Mr. Marchuk will be responsible for customer service relations, assisting general music teachers in the Ohio Valley and beyond with their classroom musical instrument needs, as well as representing West Music at numerous state, regional, and national music conventions where he will continue to advocate for music education and provide support to local teaching communities. He will be based out of Cleveland, Ohio.  Mr. Marchuk can be reached at smarchuk@westmusic.com or at 800-397-9378 extension 1343.

About Sam Marchuk

Sam Marchuk has over 20 years of experience in customer service, sales, product development, and marketing in the music education industry.  He is active on the local, state, and national music education circuit.  Mr. Marchuk enjoys playing the guitar and ukulele.  He can be reached at smarchuk@westmusic.com or at 800-397-9378 extension 1343.

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Tags: West Music, Music, Education, Sam Marchuk, Consultant
Categories: Press Releases, Music Education
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Highlighting Sundiata Kata
By West Music Company
10/2/2012 2:01:00 PM  

Nothing makes us prouder at West Music than learning about educators who dedicate their lives to musical development. We love hearing from our customers about their students' accomplishments, and finding out new ways to enrich people's lives with the power of music. One such individual is music director Sundiata Kata, who on October 20th, 2011, received the great honor of being dedicated with the Sundiata Kata Music Center from the San Diego Center for Children. The Center allows for more children and teens to participate in beneficial music activities. The expansion was helped in part by a $45,000 grant that was presented by the San Diego Women’s Foundation earlier this year.

Sundiata Kata at the ribbon cutting ceremony

The ribbon cutting event included performances by children and teens at The Center, including solo pieces and dance routines. San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders attended and presented a city proclamation commemorating October 20th, 2011 as "Sundiata Kata Day" in San Diego. A representative from Supervisor Ron Roberts’ office also served a proclamation honoring this day as "Sundiata Kata Day" in San Diego County. Additionally, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf commented on how many lives Kata had positively influenced throughout the past four decades.

Brad Perry of KUSI San Diego interviewing Sundiata Kata

Music Director Sundiata Kata has worked at the San Diego Center for Children for more than 42 years and has harnessed the power of music and rhythm to help Center students adopt new ways of dealing with their anger, emotions and suffering. The powerful inspiration of music is changing the lives of children at the San Diego Center for Children, restoring trust and hope in children who have suffered abuse, trauma, or have severe emotional and behavioral problems. Through music, these children are coping with their pain and aggressions.

The musical activities help reduce stress and were developed to be a creative outlet for the challenging emotions that the children process on a daily basis. Through the San Diego Center for Children’s hands-on music program, children and adolescents can express themselves and sense feelings of accomplishment. Kata sees more than 100 students each week, having them participate in drum circles and choir. He and his staff provide jazz and rock music lessons, and teach students express creatively what they've seen in their lives through an apt musical form: the blues.

Blues Thursday

About the Sundiata Kata Music Center
The Sundiata Kata Music Center has created a safe environment for musical expression at the San Diego Center for Children. Sundiata believes that music promotes healing and wellness in everyone. When children apply any of the arts to their lives, they have the power to transcend all cultural barriers that can open dialogs for communication and healing for the world's most troubled children and youth.

Sundiata Kata works with students

The Children’s Learning Academy is on the grounds of the San Diego Center for Children. The music programs provide musical instruction for all the students who attend classes such as our school choir “Kids With a Song,” African Drum Ensemble, ukulele, guitar, audio recording classes using Pro Tools 10, “Blues Thursday” and open mic talent jam, voice lesions, improvisational music, recreational music making, and drama. The Sundiata Kata Music Center also provides musical services for the after school Wellness Program, new hire orientation using HealthRhythms as a tool for helping children of trauma, the adolescent protocol teen girls program, and for all agency staff and administration to experience HealthRhythms.

For more information, visit their website at www.centerforchildren.org.

About Sundiata Kata
Sundiata grew up in a musical family. His mother was a Jazz/Gospel singer and people were always around playing music, singing, or listening to music. When he was five, his kindergarten class asked him to sing the Lords Prayer for graduation.

As Sundiata grew older, his mother would play the piano and while he would sing at church service. He attended East High school, where he sang in the school choir, played piano in a Jazz Trio, and had a group that sang soul music in the vein of The Temptations. Between the ages of 12 and 18, he was the lead singer in a church quartet called the “Monarchs”.

While living in Columbus, Ohio as a child, Sundiata loved to drum, and would play on coffee cans, oatmeal boxes and pretty much anything that produced a good sound. He was enthralled with how the sound of drumming would echo off the walls of the apartments and fill the open areas across the court in Poindexter Village. Those fond memories from his childhood continue to inspire him to this day.

Before moving to San Diego in 1969, Sundiata was playing piano and learning Afro Cuban drum rhythms. He would sit in and jam with different local bands in the area who were in the Jazz and Latin music scene. In 1977, he traveled to West Africa before returning later and studying and playing with several traditional West African Dance Companies. His first job in San Diego was with the San Diego Children’s Home where he was hired as a Child Development Counselor. Mrs.Tolliver, a friendly lady from Trinidad who worked at the Service Center, took it upon herself to find the right job for him. She asked what type of work he was interested in, to which he replied that he wanted to continue working with young people. His response came from his experience working with troubled inner city youth in Columbus prior to moving to San Diego.

According to Sundiata, his teaching lives by a simple mantra: "it’s not about you, it’s about the children." We here at West Music applaud your contributions and efforts to the musical well-being of children, and we look forward to hearing more about your work in the future!

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Tags: Sundiata Kata, Sundiata Kata Music Center, San Diego Center for Children, healing
Categories: Music Therapy, Press Releases
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Hand-In-Hand & West Music Music Therapy featured on Trace Adkins' GAC Show
By West Music Company
9/4/2012 12:46:00 PM  

We're extremely proud and excitied to announce that Hand-In-Hand: Programs for Children With Special Needs will be featured on the September 5th nationally televised episode of GAC’s Great American Heroes! Country Music star and Great American Heroes host Trace Adkins visited the Hand in Hand center in Davenport, Iowa during the filming of this episode in May. We are thrilled this program celebrates Hand-In-Hand’s children, families, staff and volunteers who are the heroes that take on disability issues every day!

West Music's Music Therapy Services Department provides music therapy to individuals enrolled in the Hand-In-Hand programs, and our own Kelly Carlson will be featured on this episode! Be sure to tune in to GAC on Wednesday, September 5th at 7:00 PM CST to watch the episode! For more information about the episode, CLICK HERE!

About Great American Heroes (from the series' website)
Country music superstar Trace Adkins knows a thing or two about heroes, and this fall he’s bringing their stories to life in the new series Great American Heroes on GAC. Great American Heroes follows Adkins on his nationwide Songs & Stories tour as he takes time away from the stage to pay tribute to ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their local communities. Great American Heroes premieres Wednesday, August 22nd at 8:00 pm ET. Episodes will re-air on Sundays at 8:00 pm ET. In each episode, Adkins visits with three hometown heroes to learn about and acknowledge their efforts, and surprise them with something special to help them continue their good work. As a bonus, Adkins hosts the local heroes as special guests at his concert in their hometown.

About Hand-In-Hand (from their website)
Hand-in-Hand is the concept of two sets of parents with special needs children. Mark and Vinnie Smith, and Dave and Joanie Steil both had a dream of seeing their children afforded the same opportunities available to typical children. Unfortunately, the Steils were unable to realize this dream for their daughter Tessa, as she passed away in May of 1999. However, knowing the positive impact she made on many lives, these parents wish to keep her wonderful spirit alive by making this unique and exciting respite program a reality. Hand-in-Hand programs provide a growing number of services for both special and typical needs children 6 weeks to 21 years fo age. Hand-in-Hand is also expanding some activities to serve adults with disabilities. Our activities are planned with the age and ability level of each individual in mind. Children with a wide variety of mental, physical and medical needs are welcomed participants in all of our programs. Hand-in-Hand is a non-profit organization that assists families with special needs. We exist to expand the capabilities, confidence and quality of life for children and young adults of all abilities by providing programs designed to encourage fun, learning and social interaction in a positive environment.

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Tags: music therapy, Trace Adkins, Great American Heroes, Hand in Hand, Davenport,
Categories: Music Therapy, Press Releases
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Rhythm For Good

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