• In the Spotlight… Forsyth Music Shop

    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!

    Visit Forsyth Music shop online at: https://www.forsyths.co.uk/

    And follow them for updates on Facebook, Instagram + Twitter:

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic 

  • In the Spotlight… Just Flutes

    Just Flutes In The Spotlight

    Based in beautiful 16th-century premises located in Croydon (South London), Just Flutes have been supplying flutes, piccolos and more to players all across the world for over 35 years!
    With an on-site workshop for repairs, adjustments and custom made headjoints, as well as an extensive sheet music offering, Just Flutes really is a hub for all your fluting needs.
    This month, we interviewed Adam Clifford to find out more about this wonderful music shop and learn about some of their more unusual instruments…

    Just Flutes rehearsal room


    What is the story behind Just Flutes?

    We actually started as two businesses that came together! Just Flutes was started in 1985 in Twickenham by Chris Hankin, a flute teacher and freelance player, who saw that there was a gap in the market for a specialist shop selling sheet music, instruments and accessories. The sheet music catalogue quickly became famous across the world for being probably the most extensive of its kind, listing almost everything that was available in print for flute.

    Meanwhile, Jonathan Myall Musical Instruments was started around the same time in a small village outside London called Walton on the Hill, specialising in woodwind instruments and, in particular, flutes. In the late 1980s, Jonathan Myall bought Just Flutes and the two companies merged. Now, the business has a strong (80%) leaning towards flutes, but we still sell a large number of clarinets and saxophones, too.

    What can customers expect when they come to visit you?

    Just Flutes old Tudor store front

    We have absolutely everything a flute player could ever dream about. Flutes from £150 to £30,000; flutes in all shapes and sizes, accessories, and of course a huge selection of flute music! We still have the same ethos as when we started: if it’s in print, we will have it!

    Our shop is based in Croydon, in south London, in what is believed to be the oldest shop in town. It’s a beautiful Tudor timber-framed building dating from around 1550 give or take a few years. Customers are often surprised to see such a beautiful building in Croydon, which is more widely known for its 1960s Brutalist architecture! Walking through the door is like stepping into the Tardis: the shop front is tiny, but the showroom goes back a long way and we are in fact spread over three floors. We’re lucky enough to have one of the most beautiful practice rooms of any music shop in the world!

    For customer-facing roles, we only employ flute players, which means that our customers can have the advice of a musician who really knows the ins and outs of each instrument. Our staff have usually studied flute at music college or university level, so can themselves play to a very high standard.

    Have you got an unusual instrument in your shop?

    Currently, we have a Subcontrabass flute in G. It’s about 8 feet tall and has two bends in; if unwrapped, it would be around 12 feet long! It sounds two and a half octaves below the concert flute and requires a lot of puff. It was made by Eva Kingma in the Netherlands, who specialises in low flutes; it sells for £21,500!

    subcontra bass flute

    See if you can spot it in the virtual tour below…

    What has been the most popular instrument to pick up and learn over lockdown?

    We’ve sold lots of beginner flutes over lockdown, including to nurses and doctors on the frontline who needed a way to unwind in their time out.

    What additional services do you offer?

    We have a fabulous repair workshop run by Ian McLauchlan, who also makes flute headjoints on-site in silver and gold.

    Gold flute


    Go on, tell us about your most famous customer…

    We’ve sold flutes to the principal flutes of the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House… Lots of people who are famous in the flute world, but probably the most well-known non-flute player was James May (Top Gear) who drove down on his motorbike one day to pick up a flute! We don’t know whether it was for himself or as a gift for someone else, though!

    How do you get involved in your local community?

    We put on lots of events for the wider flute community, including lessons and workshops with some of the world’s leading flute players. At the start of lockdown in 2020, we ran a series of daily warm-ups for flute players, and a series of lessons for players to start learning the tin whistle. Latterly we’ve had a series of online events for adult amateur flute players to improve their playing, learn new repertoire and – because it’s what community is all about – socialise!

    book shelves full of sheet music


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

    In non-Covid times, our shop is a bustling hub for flute players to meet and socialise: we never know who will walk through our doors on a given day and what opportunities for players can develop from a chance encounter!

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

    Buying a musical instrument is a serious investment, and a good flute often comes with a big price tag. Spreading payments via Take It Away with an interest-free loan makes the flute much more affordable to players who would otherwise not be able to access these kinds of instruments.

    Thank you, Adam!

    Visit Just Flutes online at: justflutes.com

    And follow them for updates on Facebook, Instagram + Twitter:

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic 

  • In the Spotlight… Becketts Music

    Becketts Music... In the Spotlight

    trio of images of the inside of becketts shop
    In the Spotlight today is Becketts Music, based in Southampton. In 2021, this extensively stocked music shop celebrated its 75th year since opening in 1946! We caught up with the owner, Dan Redhead, to find out what they’ve got to offer in the shop and how they can help you, our lovely Take it away customers.

    What is the story behind Becketts?

    The business was started in 1946 by Mr Beckett senior, so we celebrated our 75th year of trading in 2021. I joined Becketts in 1980 as a sales assistant and subsequently became manager. Mr Beckett’s son at that time was running the shop and eventually, we became business partners. I had always wanted to do something within the music sector and a plan was agreed to allow him to eventually retire at which point I took over the business. It was a very amicable arrangement and Mr Beckett still carries out repairs for the store as a 3rd party repairer today.

    Old black and white image of becketts music shop front

    What can customers expect when they come to visit you?

    We can offer a great wealth of knowledge having been involved in the music industry for many years. Our staff are knowledgeable on the instruments we have for sale, either as players or from years of sales experience (or both!). We have a reputation for good honest advice and help which is not earned by being a “quick box shifter”.

    timpani inside shopWhat’s the most unusual instrument in your shop?

    At the moment, probably a 25″ timpani sat in the shop – any takers?

    What additional services do you offer?

    Repairs to instruments are the main additional service we offer. We don’t have much physical space so we’re unable to offer tuition but we do work closely with local teachers – do ask us for recommendations!

    Go on, tell us about your most famous customer…

    Over the years we have had involvement with many celebrities as we are located only a stone’s throw from the local Mayflower Theatre. We have had last-minute requests from musicians appearing at the theatre, musicians who were performing for the Queen on board a ship following its launch but had left gear behind, as well as James Last (a blast from the past) who wanted music stands within an hour.

    Name a favourite piece of music. (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)

    There would be so many, I guess it really depends on your mood at the time. I have quite a range of interests but it would have to be something with a decent melody. Sorry, I can’t pick from such a vast library to choose from!

    How do you get involved in your local community?

    We visit schools to explain how instruments work and meet with bands to give talks on instrument care. If we can, we always try to help with any musically orientated project.

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

    You will never be able to experience the joy of trying that instrument and getting invaluable advice through a computer screen.

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

    Money can be tight for all of us and Take it away gives that opportunity for customers to purchase that instrument which in turn opens up a whole world of opportunity.

    Thanks, Dan!

    Visit Becketts Music at: beckettsmusic.co.uk

    And follow them for updates on Facebook + Twitter:

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic