Printer-friendly version
The Weekend Vote Weekend Vote: Have you visited your local music store lately?

September 15, 2012 at 6:33 PM

I get these kinds of messages all the time:

"Hello, I'm a 12 year old violinist student,, kinda beginner student,, kindly ask something ? can you give me some easy music sheets ? (popular music) , thnk you, ASAP"

Has the Internet age made people this passive? Just, "Find me some music and send it, ASAP," really?

I would argue that you can learn quite a lot, just in the act of looking for music. Certainly, you can find such arrangements on the Internet. Further, consider going to your local music store, meeting the people there, and looking through whatever music they have to offer.

Also, you need to pay for the sheet music you use. No one owes you the service of transcribing popular music into an easy format for free, so you can play it on your violin as a beginner. Try transcribing it yourself. Too hard? That's why you need to pay for the music.

Have you checked out your local music store?

From Man Wong
Posted on September 15, 2012 at 7:28 PM
Don't know about being more "passive", but people definitely seem to feel more "entitled" for sure. That and the instant gratification thing.

Tech advances (along w/ various other "advances" in society/culture) have certainly made all this possible. But it's most likely also a human nature sorta thing... to take the easy way out whenever possible, usually disregarding (or perhaps feeling helpless about) the long term consequences of it all. There are exceptions to this of course, but that's not what we're discussing here.

And I guess there's something to be said about "necessity being the mother of all inventions", innovations, resourcefulness, etc. Maybe if the kid actually felt all that great a need to find this music for himself, he'd do so -- and that's not to say he didn't actually do more than just make such a seemingly lazy request as that may indeed occur to him and some others after-the-fact (or so one would hope anyway)...



PS: Although we apparently have a great, master violinmaker in our neck of the woods, there are no actual (quality) music stores truly local to us... at least none readily accessible in our borough AFAIK and maybe none (w/ an extension collection of sheet music available) in Manhattan anymore either (though I could be mistaken on the latter). I do definitely like the effectively local presence of and have given them some of my business in the past year or so (and recommend them to other parents and violin teachers as well). Not quite sure how they're managing it in Manhattan (although they did move much of their lower-end/margin operation to a different lower rent location), but they're actually very competitive w/ all the other online shops like Shar, Southwest Strings, etc. near as I can tell while still offering great, personal service whenever/wherever needed. So kudos to them on that!

From Patrick Tinney
Posted on September 15, 2012 at 9:40 PM
I went by my favorite violin shop today and picked up three bows to try out. I bought my second violin there less than a month ago. I picked up one other small item.

My teacher has noted my finally moving into the violin repertoire and away from fiddle music since I acquired my new violin. She lent me an extra copy of her Suzuki volume 3 so I could work on several of the pieces presented in that edition.

It would be so easy to just scan and print these, plus I would have all the markings in her editions. But when you think of all the people in the chain from arraigner to publisher to store is it really an advantage to save the $8.00+ it cost me at my violin shop minus the paper and ink of printing a “illegal” copy at home.

We used to have a wonderful store, Alpha Music. It closed last year, the owner citing the internet as one of the reasons for the demise of shops like his. This store primarily sold sheet music and books. There are no other stores like it.

The general music stores that deal in band and orchestra instruments have methods and competition pieces. My nice violin shop does have a nice selection for the classical and popular violin / fiddle (plus those other siblings of the bowed world). But there are so many general collections, particularly in the folk section of my office that I found only because they were on the shelf at Alpha Music.

One thing I hope you noticed my allusion to above. I can get most of Sevcik off of IMSLP. By the time I print a book on my ink jet, if I think about the cost of ink and paper, I don’t think I save much.

And in any case if we don’t buy the old stuff from the publishers, which is mostly available at a reasonable price, then who will publish the new stuff.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 12:38 AM
I visit my local shop as often as I can, however what they carry for viola music is quite limited. I have ended up transcribing on my own, especially in the last few weeks, getting music prepped for my sister's wedding.

It is quite an educational experience transcribing!

From Marsha Weaver
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I don't visit the local music store very often because I tend to stock up on music that I anticipate needing over several months. My orchestra music is provided to me, and many simple pieces that I'd like to learn I just figure out by ear. As far as the "nuts and bolts" needs -- rosin, strings, etc. -- I order those from Shar. I'd love to visit their showroom sometime, but so far haven't worked that much of a "road trip" into my schedule.
From Simon Streuff
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 1:14 AM
A few times a year? Today! :D But I must admit it's not happening very often. Still I like to look through Editions live. Buying online is difficult if you don't know exactly what you need... have I even understand the poll right? Good night!
From elise stanley
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM
Today too :) Least one of my two favorites - where was the once a week or more option ;)

I like to find music online and then if I want to work on it I go and buy the original at the shop. I can alway sdrop in and try a violin or two too if I feel like it. Its nice being a 'good prospect' ...

From Kathryn Woodby
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 2:19 AM
I love going in to my local shop (here's a shout out to cassandra in algonquin, IL if anybody is looking for a great one!) It always gives me a sense of being part of the broader, wider strings world, which since I am teaching from home and not currently part of an orchestra, is a wonderful thing!! I do most of my music orders from SHAR though--it is just so easy to hop online and get what I need.
From Michelle Jones
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 2:08 PM
When my students ask this question of me, I am always happy to show and teach them the entire process. First, I ask them to visit the local music stores to see what they can find. I have business cards for several stores that carry different music here in town. I tell them if they cannot find it already in a book for their instrument, then find a piano version and get it. If they are unable to locate a part after visiting the store, I then look to see if I have a printed version in my personal library of over 15,000 titles (usually piano or guitar). If I don't, then I check out online sites for purchasing sheet music (like or I purchase the music, add it to the student's bill, then I spend our lesson time(s) teaching them how it is transcribed. I am paid for my time to do it while they learn the value of how to do it. If they are old enough, I start working with them to do it themselves. We start with old fashioned manuscript paper and pencil, then work our way to the computer with Finale. There is no cheating by using a MIDI keyboard or such for inputting the notes; it's all done individually by hand. It's a learning process and they value it much more since they did it themselves. Plus, they now have a head start on learning arranging and part-writing for later lessons.
As for me, I visit local music stores at least once each week. We are fortunate to have several stores with differing options here in the Orlando area. I get to know the owners and/or staff, and always make sure I have several of their business cards in my private studio for referrals/recommendations.
From Paul Deck
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM
We have one music store in town that sells guitars and amps and electronic keyboards. I never see very many people in the store, but they stay in business. I went in one day and asked for violin strings. I got a very quizzical look from the clerk. Then I said "fiddle strings" and this term he at least recognized well enough to tell me that he didn't have any. There's a fairly big Suzuki scene in this town, driven by a couple of well-organized studios. I suggested to the manager of the store that he could make good money if he carved out a little corner of his retail space for Suzuki books. He told me flatly that he wasn't interested.

There is a local luthier who has a shop in his home and he sells violin strings and some other accessories at prices that I consider reasonable. But it's not really a "store" in the sense that one cannot just show up and browse his inventory. I just call ahead to see if he has what I need, usually he does.

"No one owes you the service of transcribing popular music into an easy format for free, so you can play it on your violin as a beginner. Try transcribing it yourself." Be careful -- if you transcribe a popular tune from a recording, you may be infringing the artist's copyright. The distinction between infringement and fair use is one that is quite unclear.

From marjory lange
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM
Our only local store closed this year. A new one is starting up, but the focus is more on guitars drums, and pop-y type stuff, not classical, not ensemble. Where the school programs will go for strings, solos, etc., where piano students will go for benches and books, I don't know.
From Bernice Stochek Friedson
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM
As the daughter of a violinmaker/music shop owner, I will tell you that I cringe every time I hear the comment, "oh, I go in and browse,and then buy online". Don't they understand that their free browsing costs the shopowner money, just to stay open so they can have a free look? How do they expect the store owner to stay in business if they never buy anything from him? Yes, they will buy online, but if they have a problem - music isn't right, instruments bought don't sound good, owned instrument needs repairs, etc. - then what will they do?
From Kim Vawter
Posted on September 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Yes--It is always best to purchase music legally even if it may look easier to just pull it off the internet and run it through the printer. No copyright lecture from me, I agree it is the right thing to do. Enjoy your journey through the Suzuki Method books. As for the vote this weekend, I have to say that I have done my share to help my local music store open a new branch and keep it's employees happily occupied. Most of their items are available at a price comparable to the same items on the internet.
From Paul Deck
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM
@Patrick, I have had people ask me "why do you buy such things that you can download free from the internet?" The answer is because I just like to have the nicely printed and bound book.

As for your teacher's markings, yes you would capture all of those by scanning and printing. But you will learn more by sitting at a table and copying each marking by hand with your own pencil, as the tune works its way through your mind phrase by phrase. Also, markings change, and if you've made all the markings yourself in pencil then you can erase.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM
The "local" music store is a rather long drive away, so I end up ordering from Sheet Music Plus.
From Matthew Dakoutros
Posted on September 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM
I am visiting the store every second month, because my students need things and their local music store is expensive, so I buy the stuff for them. But for a lot of the sheets I need I go to IMSLP, especially if I want to try something.
From Mark Roberts
Posted on September 18, 2012 at 3:01 PM
Yes, I check out what music is for sale in local shops, never buy any - just have not got the money.
From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on September 20, 2012 at 6:12 AM
I feel sooo guilty. I have a great shop fairly near-by: Ifshin's! But I'm afraid that if I go there as often as I visit my favorite bead shop, I'd have large credit card balances and everything would be more disorganized than it already is. At least a few beads don't cost much and can be easily tucked away.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

National Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Borromeo Music Festival

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine