Browsing Tag

J W Pepper


Meet Pepper: North Carolina

December 13, 2011

Welcome to our new blog series! We would like to introduce you to all fourteen of our regional stores, representing all areas of the country, Canada, and indeed the world.  First up is the Pepper store located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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Shop With Pepper, Earn Crescendo Rewards

August 24, 2011

Always looking for ways to support music education and advancement, Pepper is proud to offer our new Crescendo Rewards program!  Parents, alumni and music lovers — you can now support your favorite music organization or school program by shopping with us!  Directors — you can register your school or organization for Crescendo Rewards and help people donate to your program every time they shop for music!  Here’s an overview of how it works:

Supporters — 5% of your qualified purchases at Pepper accumulate rewards on the organization’s account, which can be applied toward the purchase of essential music equipment and accessories.  The cost of items that performers and students use every day — folders, music stands, software, recordings, videos, posters, bulletin board materials and books — is then either reduced or eliminated altogether, depending upon total points earned.  Use our Rewards Search to see if your favorite organization is currently registered for the program.  If not, ask the director of the organization to visit to learn more about the program.

Directors — visit to register your school, church, studio or community music organization for the Crescendo Rewards program.  We even offer some convenient easy-to-use tools to help you spread the word to your supporters.  As supporters make qualifying purchases with Pepper and indicate your program should benefit, rewards will accumulate on your organization’s account, helping you reduce or eliminate the cost of future purchases of music equipment and accessories.   The best part ?  Participation in the program is absolutely free! 

Are you ready to get started?  Visit to learn more about participating in this valuable program.  Shopping for music has never been so rewarding!


Copyright: An Overview Presented by J.W. Pepper

March 1, 2011

It is rare that any music educator today does not run into the question of whether or not something they are doing violates copyright law.  With so many gray areas and ever-changing artistic media, it’s difficult to really know where to even begin when questions regarding copyright arise.  Just as important is educating our students so that they too can learn and understand the rules associated with copyright.

This exclusive 13-minute video from J.W. Pepper offers an overview of copyright issues and covers topics such as history, what is admissible, what is prohibited, where to seek out copyright permission, and resources for those times that there simply is no easy answer to your copyright questions.  We hope you find this tool useful as a guide for music educators and students alike:

Did you know that J.W. Pepper offers in-depth copyright presentations as a service to colleges and universities?  If you are a music educator and would like to take advantage of this free service, please contact us to set up a visit to your classroom!

The Pepper Difference

Care to Comment?

December 20, 2010
Customer Rating & Review

We’ve all performed music that inspires us and touches those that hear it in a special way.   By our very nature as musicians, we love to collaborate with others.  Here at Pepper, we want to give you a place to share your tips, suggestions and recommendations about music, so we now offer customer reviews on our website!

Use our Customer Reviews to let others know what made the music work for you.  Did a piece help you develop certain skills within your group?  Maybe you found a great musical pairing, or want to share a creative staging or classroom activity.

If you have something special to share about the music, we invite you to enter your comments on our websites, and   

Pull up any title and look for the “Customer Reviews” tab.   All we ask is the writing be respectful and offer value to other readers.  It’s fine to say something didn’t work for you, but if you do, try to explain why.          

We look forward to reading your comments!


‘Tis A Gift

October 19, 2010

I recently enjoyed a Ballston Spa Community Band concert while attending the New York State School Music Conference in Albany, New York.  Prior to the concert, I had the opportunity to meet the conductor, Ms. Tracy DeRagon.  One of the pieces programmed generated a rather interesting conversation.  The name of the ninth piece on the program was ‘Tis a Gift by Anne McGinty.  This piece holds special meaning in the hearts of both the composer and to many Pepper employees, so I shared the story with Tracy.

On July 17, 1996, three band students from the Montoursville Area High School (Northern Pennsylvania) tragically lost their lives aboard TWA Flight 800.  Following a memorial concert held shortly after the accident, members of the band suggested the idea of a dedicatory work.  With this in mind, we were contacted to make this idea a reality.  We approached composer Anne McGinty about writing a commissioned work, and she eagerly agreed to write the piece to honor and celebrate the students’ lives.  At that point we decided both the composer’s worldwide royalties as well as all proceeds from Pepper’s sale of the piece would be donated to the band’s ‘Tis a Scholarship Fund for Music Education.

Return now to the Ballston Spa band concert in 2010.  Before each piece, the conductor shared personal stories and introductions about each piece.  When it was time for ‘Tis a Gift, she shared our conversation with the audience.

Attending this concert left me with a very special feeling and I felt truly honored to be part of a special cause that transcends music and still has meaning today.

The Pepper Difference

What Music Means to Us

October 7, 2010

Monday kicked off National Customer Service Week!  As part of showing our appreciation for the folks here who work hard every day to support you, we wanted you get to know them better.  We recently asked those of us in our customer service department to answer the question, “What does music mean to me?”   The responses showed music means a plethora of different things to different people, yet is a common language, regardless of whether or not a person is musically inclined.   Here are a few quotes from the staff:
Customer Service Department

“Music sees no stereotypes, generations, cultures or languages.”  — Jen

“Music brings me back to the center of my heart.”  — Sue

“Music brings the purest emotions to the surface.” — Angie

“Music is a happy and peaceful side of life.” — Mary

“Music has the power to change lives.”  — Nancee

“Music bridges the gaps that are otherwise left open.”  — Jenn

 So next time you are speaking with one of us on the phone, remember these are the thoughts we come to work with every day.  We have a real passion for music that inspires us to support you in your musical pursuits.


Tomorrow’s Mr. Holland

September 9, 2010
Plan a trip

Plan a field trip to Pepper!

One of the cool things about working in a music store is meeting the different musicians who visit.  A music store is a hub, a melting pot resource for those carving out their niches within an industry that is constantly changing.  This is especially true for college music students who embody the next generation of professional composers, teachers, and players.

Savvy college music professors will often bridge the gap with their curriculum so that students are somewhat prepared for entering their careers.  One such teacher is Mr. Dale Wolford, an Instrumental Methods professor at San Jose State University here in Northern California.  His class prepares music education majors for future directing roles by discussing core repertoire for bands and orchestras, rehearsal techniques, and pedagogy.  Wolford is a player at heart and strives to give his students a “real-world” sense of what they can expect as professional music teachers.  The value of this cannot be measured as California’s arts education climate faces its ups and downs.

Part of this reality lesson comes as a class trip to their local J.W. Pepper branch, the store I manage here in Dublin, California.  Every spring Dale creates an assignment that requires research to be done while here in the store.  I lead his class on a tour and answer questions about the services Pepper has to offer to them as music teachers.  It’s a fun day for all… they learn to realize their potential, and I get to give back to the music teacher community that brought me up as a young musician.

If you are a college music teacher I encourage you to schedule a class visit to your local Pepper store.  Contact the manager and consider assigning an in-store project that requires them to peruse our shelves of music.  If you aren’t within easy driving distance of our stores, try an assignment using our online database as a tool.  We welcome you to do so, and would be glad to help you set something up.  Repertoire research empowers your students with a real-life skill that will help them become better music teachers.


The Power of “Glee”

August 5, 2010


Don’t Stop Believin’, Jump, Somebody to Love, Sweet Caroline, Can’t Fight This Feeling — these songs have two things in common: 

  1. They have all been performed on the hit television show Glee
  2. They are all featured in J.W. Pepper’s 2010-2011 Editors’ Choice choral series.

I took some time today to listen to some of the incredible arrangements that have emerged in the newest recordings and found myself pondering the significance of shows such as High School Musical and Glee from a music education standpoint.

I read that a poll by the National Association for Music Education this past February showed that 43 percent of choral directors surveyed saw an increase in interest amongst students to join their ensembles due to the popularity of Glee.  I have also read several stories about students who never would have thought to audition for show choir before becoming suddenly eager to join, citing Glee as their inspiration for doing so.  This made me wonder how many Pepper customers have experienced the “Glee” phenomenon and whether or not you feel it has helped not only to increase student interest, but also to garner support from school administrators and parents.  Have there been any shifts in attitude toward your choral programs?  Have you noticed any changes in confidence and self-esteem amongst your choir members?  Have you had to explain to your students that they won’t be able to pull off a stellar rendition from the moment you pass the sheet music out to them?  I would love to hear your stories and opinions on this subject.  Please feel free to submit them via the Comments form below.

Click here to see a partial list of titles available from Glee.

The Pepper Difference

A Lifetime of Achievement

June 22, 2010
Dean Carter Burtch

Dean Carter Burtch

We don’t often write about our own folks in our blog, but in this case, we’ll make an exception.   This spring, we lost a pillar of our company with the passing of Dean Carter Burtch.   Dean was a boy when his father was involved in buying the company from the Pepper family in 1941.  By then, the Pepper family was not able to sustain the business due to the early death of Howard Pepper, son of company founder James Welsh.   The company changed hands from one family to another, and remains in the Burtch family today.

While that explains how Dean ended up at Pepper, it doesn’t explain what Dean has done for us here at Pepper, and what he has meant to the greater music community.   Dean was past owner, Chairman, and President of the company.   He also served as President of the Music Publishers Association of the United States, and was recently honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award.    According to Robert Murphy, Vice President of Information Systems, “Dean had a great appreciation for music.  His driving force was to promote music education and provide teachers with the tools to foster future prodigies.”

His influence is evident throughout the company today.  Early on in my music teaching career I was impressed by the warm, family feel to the company, and as an educator, was touched how often people at Pepper talked about making things easier for teachers.   Service is a word casually tossed about by many companies, but honestly, at Pepper it is not just marketing jargon, it’s a way of life.  Dean’s kindness, gentle wit, his support of the arts, and the trust he placed in his staff created a marvelous company culture where we help customers, and each other, every day.

Dean, an avid sailor, “was an easy leader to follow, whether in the board room or the wheel house.  If you were able, he made sure you learned how to drive the boat,” commented Lee Paynter, the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

Thank you, Dean, for all you have done for us.   Your influence will be felt in the company and throughout the music community for many generations to come.

Watch a short interview with Dean:  Dean Burtch NAMM Oral History Video


Summer Travels

May 26, 2010

As musical activities for the year slow down, thoughts of summer fun, additional learning and exciting travel enter the thought process. While the possibilities are endless, there are some destinations and events musicians may want to consider.

I’ll start with the obvious.   We’d love you to stop by and visit your local Pepper store, or attend one of our more than 40 summer music reading sessions this summer.   It’s a nice addition to any trip you have planned,  and you’re likely to find inspiring music to consider for next season.  So, if your travels take you our way and you have time, put us on your itinerary.

Summer events:


There are also some very interesting music museums throughout the country to consider.  Halftime Magazine recently provided information on some unique musical destinations to get you started:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland, OH –

Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, AZ –

The Grammy Museum – Los Angeles, CA –

Museum of Making Music – Carlsbad, CA –

Rhythm Discovery Center – Indianapolis, IN –

Experience Music Project – Seattle, WA –

You can find more unique possibilities by entering a Google search for Music Museums.

While you are busy exploring the possibilities, the Pepper staff will be preparing for your next musical year.  We wish you happy and safe travels!