INDIANAPOLIS — Students in Central Indiana are getting ready to go back to school or are already a couple of weeks into their first semester.
That means parents are stocking up on supplies like pencils, notebooks, backpacks and more.
But one item they you not realize is important to get early is your child’s musical instrument.
Back to school season is when Musicians' Repair and Sales tells WRTV they do the majority of their business.
“Probably two to three times as busy as it is in February," Owner Rick Oldham said. “As the kids are not needing the instruments, we work through those. We go through a few thousand of them during the summer."
Oldham's shop on Capitol Avenue is Indianapolis’ oldest running music store.
“Dad started it 75 years ago," Oldham said. "I work here with my son, my wife and me and a room full of wonderful employees."
Many school districts across Central Indiana come to him for repairs. In the next month, he says his shop may rent upwards of 400 instruments to students who attend schools such as IPS, Clark Pleasant, Brownsburg, Shelbyville and more.
Oldham's shop has a staff of 13 people, and depending on the specific needs of the instrument, a repairman can get through an average of three to five instruments a day.
“Ten of them spend their whole day working on musical instruments whether it’s violins or flutes or piccolos are tubas. Whether it’s taking a dent out of one are adjusting a sax or an oboe to get it to play right," he said.
For students just beginning their music education, the store is fully stocked with those instruments.
But Oldham says he's had some difficulty getting higher quality instruments because of supply chain issues.
“Today there’s plenty to chose from," Oldham said. "You can buy a used instrument that’s not too expensive. You can get an almost new rental that’s cheaper than the brand new one."
“If you show up late, you might not be able to grab one.”
Oldham says his favorite part of the job is working with kids who are getting their hands on an instrument for the first time.
“I show them how to make a sound on one. Each of them get a chance to make a sound on each of the instruments. They get a chance to be excited and decide which one they wanna play," he said.
He says percussion instruments and the saxophone are the most common picks for beginners.
Oldham says the number one thing for a student to remember when they get a chance to be in instrumental music is that first year may be their only opportunity to do so.
“If your school starts music in 6th grade and you think you’ll wait until 7th grade — there isn’t beginning orchestra in 7th grade. Give it a try. Give it a chance. You may have the god given talent to be a fantastic musician, but you won’t know if you don’t try.”
He invites anyone to visit his store, Musicians' Repair & Sales at 332 N. Capitol Ave., to learn more or check out the instruments. His store hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can also contact Musicians' Repair & Sales at 317-635-6274