Consolidated Music of Barrington teaches the Internet a lesson
Jeff Lindahl, owner of Consolidated Music of Barrington, teaches lessons, sells instruments and offers Rock Star 101 to help young musicians form musicians and perform. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 5, 2013 11:52AM
BARRINGTON — Most musicians in the Barrington area are familiar with Consolidated Music of Barrington.
“It’s a fun business because everyone likes music,” said Jeff Lindahl, owner of the music store that has been teaching children, teens and adults to play various instruments for nearly 39 years.
The store’s focus is on guitars, but Lindahl said the shop also sells instruments and give lessons on saxophone, clarinet, bass, drums, piano and more. Sheet music and other accessories also are for sale.
Since about 90 percent of his students are in middle school or high school, Lindahl created a new program seven years ago called Rock Star 101. The idea was to take these young students beyond individual lessons.
“Some kids get interested in playing in bands,” Lindahl said. “So we have a class where we teach them to form bands.”
Lindahl reported that the Rock Star 101 program, in which kids are paired into bands based on age and ability, has proved to be extremely successful. The bands have 10, two-hour practice sessions, which culminate in a concert at community events like the 4th of July celebration or local charity benefits.
“We get them out to play in different venues in town,” he said. “That’s where the kids really take off.”
Consolidated Music employs about 15 teachers who teach the individual lessons.
Wauconda resident Liam Lenhart takes guitar lessons at Consolidated Music. His daughter takes violin lessons.
“It’s been a very good experience. Very helpful,” he said. “Now, she wants to try her hand at guitar.”
Lindahl, who played guitar in a band in college, said he was influenced to go into the music business by bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who.
After many years in the business, he said the most significant change he’s seen is how the Internet has impacted retail sales.
“Really, the biggest competition is the Internet for sales,” he said. “I’m competing with people who sell on eBay and Amazon.”
Thankfully, Lindahl said, the Internet has not cut into the teaching side of the business. Because lessons are a service and not a product, he reported that the company’s lesson enrollment has remained strong.
“In terms of learning an instrument in a systematic way, there’s no substitute,” Lindahl said. “Having the private lessons gives you that systematic way to learn. It’s a process and it takes a long time.”
Lindahl said Consolidated Music also offers instruments and sound equipment for rent. Their most popular selling instrument, he explained, remains the acoustic guitar.
Despite the online retail competition, Lindahl is confident Consolidated Music’s long history of teaching and its Rock Star 101 addition will keep the store thriving in the Barrington area for many more years.
“The constant thing is people still want to learn to play music,” he said.