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S PEC I AL T O THE R ETAIL ER

MAKING MUSIC A LIFELONG ACTIVITY PART 3

By Danny Shatzkes

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During my formative teenage years, I spent a lot of time playing piano, drums and guitar. In fact, I probably focused on music more than anything else. I often neglected homework and studying, choosing instead to be with my instruments. I preferred to be inside playing music than outside playing sports, and I sacrificed many hours of sleep for the sake of playing and recording late into the night. Needless to say, I spent a substantial amount of time sitting on my rear end, hovering over my instruments. Not surprisingly, in my early- to mid-20s, I started experiencing substantial lower back pain. My guess at the time was that it was related to the heavy lifting I had done for all my gigs and performances. I also assumed that spending sustained time in a less-than-optimal posture while practicing and at these gigs had something to do with it. After seeing a specialist and getting an MRI for my back, I received an interesting diagnosis. The doctor confirmed my suspicion that bad posture and lots of heavy lifting had contributed to the pain I was feeling, but he concluded that those were not the main causes. To my surprise, the doctor explained that I was spending way too much time sitting down and not moving my legs. All this sitting had caused the ligaments in the back of my legs to become so tight that they were pulling on my pelvic bone and causing my spine to become pulled taut and almost straight (as opposed to the natural “s-curve” of the spine). The hours and hours of time spent sitting and playing music were actually deforming my body! Who would have thought that spending so much time doing what I love could potentially prevent me from continuing to do it long into the future? It got me thinking about how important it is for music teachers to continuously remind their students that good posture, correct hand and finger positioning, and getting up every now and then to stretch is just as important as practicing — not to mention striking a good general balance between movement/outdoor activities and playing music. Our bodies need to be in top form if we want them to perform optimally in any activity. Simple reminders from music teachers are integral to keep musicians playing for longer. I share this personal experience because it perfectly highlights the critical message that I espouse in this column: The success of our industry is dependent on the amount of people actively interested and engaged in music-making. And while much focus is placed on attracting new music makers, we must also work on keeping existing music makers in the fray. And a key element is to encourage healthy and safe practices as part of a “musical lifestyle.” This will, in turn, keep customers patronizing your businesses for longer. I delved into a couple of topics in detail last month, but there are many more things you can do to show

your customers that you take an interest in their personal well-being and musical lifestyles. Sometimes it’s a quick and simple tip, and other times it takes a little creativity. Sponsor a local charity race. Throughout the year, in all weather conditions and all states, there are charity races for many different wonderful causes. Find one in your local area and sign on as a sponsor. Go a step further and sign up for the race with your colleagues. Use this opportunity to let your customers know that your business is supporting a good cause and that you believe in staying healthy and active as part of your musical lifestyle. Of course, invite your customers to race with your business’ “team.” It will create a deeper connection and sense of family within your customer network. Mount antibacterial dispensers in your store. If you don’t already have a couple of these around your store, you should. If you think about it, music stores are almost like the petting zoos of retail. Almost everything on the showroom floor is meant to be touched, picked up and played. Think of the amount of people coming in each day and handling the instruments in your store. Think of the students, of all ages, in your lessons program and what they are picking up and putting back in the lesson rooms each day. We can’t presume to know where JUNE 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer June 2019, Vol 36 No 6  

In June’s Summer NAMM Preview issue, we recap the RPMDA Annual Convention, give insight into what’s in store for Summer NAMM attendees next...

Music & Sound Retailer June 2019, Vol 36 No 6  

In June’s Summer NAMM Preview issue, we recap the RPMDA Annual Convention, give insight into what’s in store for Summer NAMM attendees next...