Canby Music this month celebrated its second anniversary at its new home, an actual former residence that owner Brian Haines and his team converted into a store during the summer of 2020, and welcomed its newest employee, Ryleigh Mulhern.
Mulhern, a Country Christian High School senior who joined the Canby Music team six months ago, helps serve the store’s customers while also teaching piano, guitar, ukulele, clarinet and voice. The lessons are her favorite part of the job, she admits.
After years of playing the clarinet in band, Mulhern decided to start learning the piano a couple of years ago — an instrument she has largely taught herself in.
“I had all the music theory from band,” she says. “I knew how to read notes and stuff, so I just had to learn what the notes were on the piano. It was kind of funny because I’d had a piano for years, but I had never sent down and played it before. One day, I just got interested.”
Mulhern was in Canby Music with one of her siblings to check on an instrument rental, when she absentmindedly started playing one of the pianos on display. Canby Music Repair Tech Nathan Doty complimented her playing, and on a whim, she asked if they might be hiring.
Hey — who isn’t hiring these days?
“Nathan said she plays really well and is interested in working here, and the rest is history,” Haines said.
Mulhern is not yet sure what her future holds, but plans to study music if she goes into college next fall.
The store also recently celebrated its second year at its new location at 590 Northwest 1st Avenue, on the corner of 1st and Douglas.
The new store “officially” opened on September 1, 2020, though the date is a bit squishy: Canby Music was technically operating out of both locations as it made its transition.
“When you’re in the middle of a move like we were, there’s no ‘real’ first day,” Haines said. “And then, one week later, the town evacuated because of the fires. I promise I’m never moving again!”
While all of the factors that initially drew Haines to move his store — a more visible and accessible location, more space, dedicated classrooms, space to host live, outdoor events and so on — all panned out, there was one thing that he has been appreciated more than he expected.
“The air conditioning,” he said with a chuckle. “I think it really makes a difference for our customers and our students to have nice climate control. Everything is nice and clean and new.”
With school back in session and more or less back to normal in the wake of the pandemic, Haines and his team are looking forward to a “normal,” busy band season — their first in the new location.
Band rentals are a big part of their business, and they offer a lot of support to students who are learning the ins and outs of their new instrument.
“We’re not only renting instruments, but we also offer free private lessons when you rent an instrument so you can get the basics down,” Haines explained.
“One of the toughest things for kids when they start out in band is just knowing how to put the instrument together properly and make the right sounds. To have a half-hour of someone showing you that instead of trying to struggle through it on your own is super helpful.”
The introductory lessons also cover basic maintenance and storage techniques to ensure the rental stays in proper working order.
Canby Music is located at 590 NW 1st Avenue in Canby. For more information, call 503-263-2263 or visit canbymusic.com.
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