October 30, 2013
Symphony Music Shop
If you are a musician from the Dartmouth area, chances are you’re familiar with the Symphony Music Shop. Perhaps you have been there to purchase accessories or sheet music. This place is possibly your home away from home.
For those of us who are not currently in touch with our inner Mozart, Symphony Music Shop may hold the key to your musical potential. You can easily pass this treasure without notice as you travel down Route 6, but trust me when I tell you it is worth your while to turn around!
Symphony Music Shop is a wonderland of sound. Before you consider what you would like to purchase, give yourself some time to wander around and be mesmerized.
Upon entering the store, you are greeted by stately cellos, a gorgeous wall mounted case of violins, and what appears to be a block party of happy drums. Further into the store come the trumpets, saxophones, and clarinets hanging on the wall like Rembrandts. Beyond these, you’ll find drumsticks in every size and guitar picks in every color. There are pages and pages of sheet music, harmonicas and children’s instruments, and chimes that make the sound of magic wands. Hook a left and you’re in guitar Nirvana. One wall is covered with electric guitars and another with acoustic guitars. Banjos are propped on floor stands and even ukuleles and “guitarleles” have their place. In the middle of all these strings floats a giant island of amplifiers.
Music stores, like bookstores, have the spirit of unending possibility. Find the right book and you can go anywhere, pick up a violin or sit at a keyboard and you have the potential to create. Wander the store long enough, and you can almost picture yourself on the stage of the Zeiterion Theatre with violin in hand.
Of course, you may need a little training. You learned to read long ago, but play the cello…not so much. Take heart; there is no time like the present to learn something new! Symphony Music Shop offers instruction in twelve different instruments. The wonderful thing about learning to play an instrument is that you are instantly rewarded. A single note can be as beautiful as a full concerto.
There is more good news. The store offers instrument rentals of all kinds. You can take anything from a flute to a cello home with you to see how the relationship will work. Monthly rental payments can apply to the cost of the instrument if you decide to make it a permanent arrangement.
If you get frustrated while practicing your violin and press on the string with a little too much force, there is no need to worry. Symphony Music Shop has a full time repair department. They repair any type of orchestra instrument in the back of the store, but I especially enjoyed seeing their guitar repair corner which is out on the sales floor like a mini workshop demonstration area for all to admire.
Don’t let the sheer magnitude of this opportunity scare you. The store’s staff members are musicians themselves and on hand to answer any questions you have. Seriously, I mean any question. These are just some of the novice questions I asked, and each received a professional and patient reply:
“Do you sell Ukuleles?” (This question was asked standing practically on top of the Ukulele display…I thought I knew what they looked like but did not.)
Can you use Ukulele sheet music on a Guitarlele? (No, a Guitarlele is not a Ukulele but an actual guitar.)
“What do you mean when you say that electric piano comes with a stand?” (It means that it comes with the thing that allows it to….wait for it…stand…so that you are not playing the piano on the floor.)
More importantly, I don’t believe the young salesman called me Ma’am even one time. This small courtesy protected my magic bubble of imagination in which I was only a few lessons away from becoming a talented musician. Bless his heart.
In the end, I purchased only an Easy Piano Disney Princess Collection music book with which to impress my young niece on our ancient Casio keyboard. But you can bet I’ll be back!
While you are practicing your own craft, you can enjoy the South Coast Jazz Orchestra at one of their performances scheduled throughout the area. The orchestra was co-founded by Symphony Music Shop’s owner Bob Williamson in 2009. Check them out at the Airport Grille, Fay’s Restaurant, or Gilda’s Stone Rooster this holiday season.
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