West Music Co., Inc.

West Music Company’s growth and success has a rich history of providing quality service and opportunities for all people to experience the power of making music. West Music has over 180 Associates, six regional locations in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois including repair, lessons, and Music Therapy services, and multiple e-commerce websites and catalog departments. In 1941, West Music’s founder, Pearl West and Pete Peterson opened Peterson-West Music Company, a one-room retail and repair shop in Iowa City. Steve West joined the company in 1969 and was named Sales Manager in 1971. Sadly, in January 1999, Pearl West passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and in June 2008 company co-founder Eleanor West, wife of Pearl passed away. In June 2008, Stephen West retired as president of West Music and was named Chairman of the Board. Robin Walenta was named as the new President and Ryan West, son of Stephen and Victoria West joined the Company as Senior Vice President. West Music has expanded to include virtually all types of musical instruments and is proud to provide a full array of services: repair, sound installation, delivery, music therapy, and lessons for all ages and abilities. West Music celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2011 and looks forward to the upcoming years as a further opportunity to help people of all walks of life experience the power of making music!
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Best Curb Appeal
It’s 1973 downtown Iowa City. Pearl West with encouragement from his son Steve West makes a legendary decision. He is moving West Music to Coralville, which at the time the 3.2 miles seemed like a million. Pearl wasn’t sure about risky move but Steve was convincing. We moved to a strip mall with other businesses. Today the strip mall is all West Music. Those 3.2 miles are nothing now and everyone loves our location! We are right off hwy 6, about 2 miles from I80 & I380 & minutes from the 2nd largest mall in Iowa. The University of Iowa Campus is close which makes it easy for their 40,100 students, faculty, doctors, and other employees to experience music. There’s a bus stop out front & bike paths in back.. We are close to schools and next door to the library & the Coralville Performing Arts Center. This is a prime location and provides great traffic. If we didn’t move we would have never been able to expand and grow over the years from a small downtown location with downtown parking to a 38870sf retail facility to house our full-line store, Miyazawa, music therapy, & catalog departments plus 24 lesson studios & a performance space. Plus a 427 seat theater next door. Stop by! You can’t miss us! With giant lit signs in the front and back of the building, a free standing sign, neon’s and our beautiful large windows for everyone driving by to see who we are, know what we do, see what we have and feel invited to come in.
Best Merchandising & Display
Mariachi Display “What are those?” That’s what we hear from customer’s coming in. No opening lines or breaking down resistance needed. Customers want to know the story. The Mariachi display is different from what you would normally see. It is a thrill for us to talk about these instruments and more importantly give customers the opportunity to touch, feel and play them so they can experience the musical traditions of Mexico. West Music’s is new to Mariachi. It all started with the realization that there have been significant drops in enrollment into music programs, especially in heavier Hispanic areas. West Music reached out to Marcia Neel, former Music Supervisor for Clark County Schools in Las Vegas, to help spread the message that creating a curriculum around Mariachi can help boost enrollment & create more involvement with the community. Unfortunately, the quality of instruments and availability was limited, especially the guitarrones and vihuelas. Marcia Neel set-up talks with José Hernández, the famed Maestro of Mariachi Sol de México®, began to create his own line, with school programs in mind. February 2012, we unveiled two new lines of guitarrones and vihuelas, endorsed by José. This new adventure has also strengthened existing relationships to fill out the rest of the ensemble, like Yamaha Classical Guitars, Bach Stradivarius Trumpets, and Amati Violins.
Wanna Play “Music Makes a Difference” Award
From the family of one of our Music Therapy clinets: I want to thank you for the pleasure you gave my Mother, Ellen Brannaman at teh Heritage Nursing Home. Even near the end of her life, you were probably able to see her total love for music. It seemed to work out well for you and Chaplin Joe to go together in order to "reach" her. Thank you for the CD you recorded of Mom playing the little drum. Bless you for all you do! It is so appreciated.
Support Music Local Advocacy Award
As stated in a recent Midwest Music Therapy Conference Award Presentation: As President of West Music, Robin Walenta shows her unwavering support for the field of music therapy, not only with the music therapists at West Music, but with therapists across Iowa and the nation. The embodiment of West Music’s mission “using music to enrich people’s lives”, Robin works to ensure that people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds have access to music. Robin is active in lobbying efforts with state and national representatives and encourages all of the music therapists on staff to contact their local representatives and to serve on committees or organizations such as the Iowa Task Force for Reimbursement, or the Iowa Chapter of Music Therapy. Throughout its 18 year history, Robin has overseen the sustained growth of music therapy at West and across the midwest. Her vision and enthusiasm gives our music therapists a clear direction for the department while giving the therapists the freedom to grow and develop into areas of their choosing. Simply put, Robin is someone who inspires hard work while keeping a positive attitude and a passion for their career. Through visionary leadership, Robin has encouraged the music therapy department to develop new and innovative programs that would not only benefit their clients, but the music therapy profession overall.