Business is going to look very different for Canby Music this school year — and it’s not just because they’re in a new and much larger location three blocks west of their original store.
The Canby Music team of owner/instructor Brian Haines, instructors Aly Whelchel and Rhys Hodge, and repair wizard Nathan Doty have spent the past couple of weeks moving into the new space and getting the store up and running.
In a normal year, they would be gearing up for their busiest time of year — the start of the band rental season — but there’s nothing normal about school this year. And, with the start of school less than two weeks away, the details are still a little fuzzy.
“We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like,” Haines said of this year’s band season. “We just know it’s not going to be normal.”
The Canby School District — like most schools in Oregon — will begin the fall in full distance-learning mode, and that includes extracurricular activities.
“We are still going to be renting instruments like usual, but probably in an unusual way,” Haines said. “We normally would go to the school and have what’s called a ‘band instrument rental night.’ With schools not being in person to start the year, people are going to have to seek out their instruments on their own by going to the music store.”
This is not necessarily just a minor inconvenience, either, as Haines explained. Typically, new band students would learn the basics from their teachers before seeking out a private instructor like Canby Music’s staff, such as how to put the instrument together, how to hold it, etc.
Most teachers believe that will not be possible in a distance-learning environment.
“All of the band teachers I’ve talked to about this say it’s one thing to teach kids over the internet that have already played,” Haines said. “It’s another to try and teach somebody who’s never put together a clarinet, never played a note.”
To help navigate these unprecedented challenges, Canby Music is offering two free lessons to band students who rent instruments from them.
“So, whenever anyone rents an instrument, we’ll spend a half-hour going over how to put that instrument together, how to care for it, how to not destroy it,” he laughed.
The store has implemented other changes to cope with Covid. Rentals may be done in the store, or over the phone, with free, no-contact delivery. (Think of it like GrubHub but, you know, for a tuba.)
They are also offering lessons through Zoom, or out on the store’s spacious side porch — which Haines rebuilt with the idea of doing concerts from there someday.
“Lessons on the porch, I’m just throwing that out there if someone wants to do it,” Haines said. “I think that would be really good for brass and woodwind, especially, because of the way air travels. And I think it would be enjoyable for people.”
Canby Music is also now a licensed Casio dealer, including its high-end Privia line, which are fully digital pianos that feel — and sound — just like the real thing.
Canby Music’s official grand opening will be held throughout the day on Saturday, Sept. 19, but the store is open now. Check them out at 590 NW 1st Ave., online at canbymusic.com or call 503-263-2263.
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