Forsyth Music Shop In The Spotlight

Based in a beautiful five floor building, Forsyths is a family owned and run music shop that’s been in Manchester since 1857. This month, we interviewed Emma Loat who, together with her brother Simon, is the 5th generation of the family.

Emma and Simon Loat

What is the story behind Forsyths?

Forsyths is still a family owned and run business having been at the heart of music in Manchester since 1857. My brother Simon and I are the 5th generation. We were originally established by James and Henry Forsyth as a piano shop as well as managers of the newly established Hallé Orchestra. We have been in our current premises since the 1880s. Forsyths expanded into a wider range of musical products including orchestral and folk instruments as well as printed sheet music. We also established our own publishing house which is still in operation today.

What can customers expect when they come to visit you?

Forsyths Pianos

We are a large independent music shop spread over 5 floors (15,000sq ft) with a wide range of interesting stock for beginners to professionals alike. We also have in-house workshops where we restore and repair acoustic pianos, we also have in-house guitar techs as well as string and woodwind repair specialists. Our depth of stock in sheet music is unrivalled. Customers come from far and wide to spend a day browsing our extensive stocks as well as attending one of our many events for music lovers.

Have you got an unusual instrument in your shop?

We have always stocked a wide variety of acoustic pianos and like to have unusual pianos on display – they don’t always have to be black and shiny! We have a very unique piano currently in stock – the only one in the UK – a beautiful Bubinga Schimmel grand piano K189T – it is stunning as a piece of furniture and a superb musical instrument too!



What additional services do you offer?

Alongside the wide selection of stock we have available to browse and and purchase we offer a comprehensive servicing and repair service for most instruments. We also offer in-house tuition for piano, woodwind, string instruments and guitars. We offer private piano practice rooms equipped with high quality Schimmel grands and uprights. We also have an ongoing series of recitals in our piano showroom – twice per month as well as participative events such as monthly ‘Lets Play the Piano!’ meet up groups.

Forsyths Sheet Music


Go on, tell us about your most famous customer…

We have a very wide ranging customer base and had many a celebrity customer through the door. From Gary Barlow and Billy Bragg to Eric Cantona (trumpet) and Gary and Phil Neville as well as many international professionals such as Katherine Stott, Ben Frith, Murray McLachlan to name but a few.


How do you get involved in your local community?

We are very much involved with the local musical community supplying many schools with instruments and sheet music. We work with Chethams’ School of Music particularly and support many of their events throughout the year including their International Piano Summer School where we supply many of the pianos and have a pop-up sheet music shop in the school as well as offering in-store workshop tours etc. We also have a ‘street piano’ which lives outside the front of our shop when we are open and is enjoyed by a wide range of passers by – some of which have gone viral on social media with their performances!


In one sentence, why do you think music shops like yours are vital to your community?

Forsyths provides a vital role for musicians and music lovers alike – a resource that is valued by our customers and the wider public. We help to keep the high-street vibrant and alive – an interesting place to visit!


This past year and a half with the pandemic and the fallout from Brexit has indeed been a tough one for retailers. Please do continue to support and visit your real ‘bricks and mortar’ music shop as it is a real tangible resource which can never be substituted by buying on-line.


Why do you think payment options like the Take it away scheme are of value to your customers?

The Take it Away scheme is a really useful option to help young people buy an instrument that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, from flutes to grand pianos!


Thank you, Emma!

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