Can’t stop the music!
For almost 45 years, this resilient Turramurra business has continued to beat the drum about the benefits of making music.
It’s tough for any small business these days to stick around for more than a decade, but Turramurra Music has done that four times over and is still powering on, stronger than ever.
“I’m fairly sure that we’d be the oldest business, at least in our little strip,” says Mat Stevens, whose father, Rob, started Turramurra Music.
It all began in 1976 when, as a fresh-faced, 21-year-old musician, Rob Stevens decided to open a music store. He had no business experience and very little money, just enthusiasm and a passion for music. As it turns out, that and some grit was all he needed, and the business has been growing steadily ever since.
Mat’s parents are still involved, but Mat will eventually take over. He, of course, is also a musician, beginning by playing woodwind with his school band before moving onto the guitar later on. Many kids on the North Shore are introduced to music in the same way, that is, by learning an instrument at school.
“Probably even more so than when I was growing up,” says Mat. “A lot of schools are investing in growing their band programs […] At some schools almost everyone is involved with it, which is fantastic.”
As a result, Turramurra Music has become a go-to for schools in the area to source instruments as well as general band supplies such as music stands, percussion and other gear. They carry all popular orchestral instruments but their specialty is brass and woodwind.
While a lot of kids abandon music during their senior school years (unless they’re actually studying it), quite a few will come back to an instrument after leaving school - usually transitioning to guitar or keyboards.
It’s not just kids and young people, though; many adults are taking up instruments now.
“Especially during lockdown, lots of adults are wanting to take up an instrument,” says Mat. “I wish a bit more would because I think a lot of adults are a bit more scared to try new things than kids are.”
One instrument that adults don’t seem to be afraid of is the ukulele.
“There’s been a lot of growth in them because they’re fairly affordable. You can get a cheap one for $30 or $40, and they don’t take up too much space around the home.”
Though it may seem biased, Mat genuinely believes that everyone, of any age and ability, can benefit from learning to play an instrument.
“At a cognitive level, when you play an instrument it involves you doing some pretty complicated multi-tasking which you don’t really get in any other activity. Not only are you using two hands independently from one another at the same time, your mind’s also focusing on pitch and the tones you’re producing, as well as the rhythm, as well as listening to everyone else around you…basically you produce an epic brain workout.”
A recent ABC documentary showed a school with bad NAPLAN results and high absenteeism, drastically improve academic performance and attendance simply by getting students involved in a band program.
A study conducted by a psychologist at Western Sydney University proved that learning music later in life could help combat the onset of dementia. There are also many social and personal esteem benefits to playing in an ensemble, as well as just the sheer joy of producing music.
Turramurra Music is big on supporting community groups, projects, schools and charities, and pride themselves on high customer service standards.
“Part of our philosophy is about supporting musicians and helping them get what they need. I feel like we’re not like a typical store just trying to sell stuff, but all of our staff are very well trained to take the time to chat through what the challenge is that the customer is trying to face. If you can help that challenge without selling something, then that’s a much better result for the customer, rather than them spending $300 and walking out with equipment they didn’t really need.”
The store has been undergoing renovations for the last three years, which are near completion and will make it three times bigger.
At the moment there is no sign outside, but Mat has a message for his customers:
Turramurra Music is open for business!
02 9449 8487
1267 Pacific Highway, Turramurra