Instrument, Vocal Lessons Form ‘Backbone’ for Canby Music Store

Canby Music has built its reputation in its more than a decade in town on quality service selling, renting and repairing instruments, as well as providing supplies and accessories.

But when Brian Haines started the store 14 years ago, its business model was a little more streamlined, focusing primarily on lessons for musicians at various skill levels.

“Lessons are the backbone of the store,” Haines says today. “It’s what the whole store was built on back in the day. I didn’t know anything about retail, and I wasn’t doing rentals yet. I was a musician, and that’s what really carried the store through those first few years.”

The store offers lessons in an astonishing variety of instruments, including vocal, and caters to various skill levels, from students and those just starting out to experienced musicians looking to hone their craft.

Those who join the staff of Canby Music are all musicians themselves and teach lessons as part of their other regular duties such as helping customers and performing instrument repairs.

“There have been people who have been coming here long before the new store opened. And it’s neat to see people who started with me who have branched out and are working with new teachers,” Haines says, adding with a laugh, “And, actually they prefer them.”

Canby Music’s second longest-tenured employee, Christian Engerman, who joined the staff in May 2021, was recently appointed the store’s lessons studio manager.

In addition to continuing to teach violin, viola, cello, guitar, bass, piano, drums and ukulele, Engerman will now manage scheduling for the lesson rooms, billing and otherwise ensuring that important aspect of the store’s business runs smoothly.

“It’s nice to have more responsibility and a different kind of responsibility,” Engerman says, adding that the lessons have always been his favorite part of the job. “It’s fun to see the students have fun, and it’s nice to watch them grow. I’ve had some students for almost a year now, and I’ve been really impressed with what they’ve learned.”

Like many of the budding young musicians he now works with, Engerman got his start in school — albeit at a younger age than most.

“I started with the violin at the age of 5,” Engerman said.

Engerman grew up in the tiny Two Rivers Farm School, an Aurora-based private institution and nonprofit in which students are required to learn to play one of three instruments: violin, harp or cello.

He chose the violin — arguably the most difficult to learn of the three, or of any other instrument — and for the next decade or so, he learned to play the likes of Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky and others.

“For the first 10 years of my life, I only ever played classical music, over and over again,” he said with a laugh. “It got pretty stale, so after I graduated and went to Molalla High, I stopped for a while. I felt like I wasn’t being forced to play it any longer, and I kind of felt free.”

He eventually joined the school’s wind and jazz ensemble at his friends’ urging, finding new forms of music that hadn’t been written 400 years ago, and rediscovered the joy of playing music for himself.

He says he enjoys being able to take some of that experience he gained from his own childhood and channel into ways to make lessons fun for students and learners at Canby Music today.

“I took lessons as a kid — I was forced to take lessons — and I really hated it,” Engerman admits. “I think I kind of learned what not to do. So being able to be that person who makes it fun and enjoyable for kids is nice.”

Haines said he quickly saw in Engerman that he was somebody who could handle the extra responsibility, putting him in charge of stocking and managing the sales floor before placing him in this new role.

“It’s really nice that he’s a very organized person,” Haines says. “I can completely trust him. Whatever the schedule says, I know that’s what’s going to happen. He’s really made my life easier.”

For more information about lessons or other services offered by Canby Music, call 503-263-2263 or visit Canby Music is located at 590 NW 1st Avenue in Canby.

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