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Pepper music

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Talk for more options

May 10, 2010
Customer Service

Customer Service

We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of being placed into an automated phone system for several minutes before actually reaching a live person.  You often enter a button-pushing maze designed to have the phone system figure out what your issue is, when all you want to do is simply talk to another human.  It’s way too common with businesses these days.  At Pepper, we look at calls a little differently.  We know we all have busy lives, and by no means should contacting your music store be a complicated experience.  We try to answer your call quickly, find the answers to your questions and get your order placed so you can get on with your day.  You don’t have to “listen for more options” unless you want to talk to us about other musical options available to you.  

Just last week, I was talking to a customer where we were trying to make good on a mistake we had made.  (It’s rare, but they do happen.)  It turns out the customer lived nearby our store, so I was able to meet them in person to exchange the music they needed.   I’m not telling you this out of personal pride, but because it indicates the kind of company culture we have here at Pepper.   We have a real passion for customer service, and we really do want to talk to you.  The only number you have to push “for more information” is 1-800-345-6296.

Archive

Where music teachers gather

April 5, 2010

Times of crisis have benefits that, although unnoticed at the time, show their value long after things return to “normal.”  As economic suppport of school music programs faces challenges, it is absolutely incredible how music teachers face the future boldy.  I recently attended the Idaho Music Educator Association Conference held in Nampa.  Despite budget problems, music teachers from all over Idaho came together for three days of clinics, sessions and concerts, and a chance to network with colleagues, thought leaders and supporters from the music industry such as Pepper.

For those of you who haven’t attended a music education conference in a while, allow me to share a snapshot of what happens there.   I’ll start with the floor of the convention hall.  While this might look like a self-serving storefront for most companies, it’s so much more than that.  The convention floor is where teachers and industry people connect directly, without barriers.  It’s where teachers have a direct voice in saying what kind of support they need in music publishing, manufacturing, fundraising and many types of music support industries.  In return, vendors have a chance to show what they’ve developed to meet educational needs.  Both parties listen and learn much at this gathering spot, and this interaction shapes future resources being developed to support music education.

We take great pride in the look and design of our convention booth.  It needs to be a conversation-starter, a portable piazza.  My Pepper booth was an indispensable way station where people would stop after attending clinics.  There were brightly colored Teaching Music through Performance books sharing table space with Peter Boonshaft’s famous tomes.  New concert band music occupied the corner and rounding out the display were fingering charts, how-to manuals, and various other books written for and by music teachers.  I particularly liked I Know Sousa, Not Sopranos, a Russell Robinson book that young band directors might need when looking for their first music teacher gig. 

The conference sessions were informative and highly entertaining, with band, choral, and orchestral topics as well as practical offerings for teachers of elementary through high school music.  Henry Leck from Butler University gave two dynamic sessions based on his book and his DVD, Creating Artistry Through Choral Excellence and Creating Artistry Through Movement, respectively.   I was happy to hear positive reviews of  An Orff Ensemble with Caribbean Steel Drums, hosted by Anita Edwards.  It wouldn’t be a music conference without a diverse range of musical flavors!  

The venerable Dr. Peter Boonshaft dropped by on Friday after a day of honor band rehearsals to say hello and sign a few of his books, namely, Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music With Promise.  Peter is a renaissance musical thinker to whom I’d rather just listen and not say a word in response.  He’s the conductor everybody wishes they had as a music major.  His abilities as a storyteller are astounding… it’s no wonder that he is so busy attending conferences around the country!

As the conference wrapped up on Saturday and I was anxious to head home, I couldn’t help but feel tremendous pride for being involved with this event.  Not only did I feel we brought value to the event, but I learned much from the teachers there, and was touched by those who expressed personally their thanks for our company’s support of them.  This IMEA Conference happens once every two years, and I am already looking forward to the next one!

The Pepper Difference

Who is Pepper, really?

February 11, 2010
 

If there’s one drawback for a company whose customers span the globe, it’s in getting folks to really know you.  After all, what does an elementary class in San Jose know about our hard-working people?  Do they know our classroom music editor in Bismark spends countless hours finding good resources for their teacher, or do they know how accuracy-driven our warehouse workers are with filling their teacher’s order? Probably not.  We hope this post helps you get to know the people at J.W. Pepper just a bit better. 

Pepper is an old company, 134 years old at the time of this post.  While that doesn’t tell the whole story, it does tell a part of it.  If you work here, it’s the kind of company you want to stay with.  You’ll find lots of good people working hard to support musicians everywhere.  We get musicians.  We love musicians.  Many of us are musicians. 

You’d expect to have highly schooled musicians with PhD’s, master’s and undergraduate degrees here so we can understand nuances between one edition and another, and sure, we have lots of people schooled in music. Many in our ranks have hands-on experience as well. Pepper is a small army of school teachers, music directors, church musicians, studio teachers, gigging musicians, singers, and players of all kinds —  all plugged into the world of music.

Every bit as important are our people who just plain love music as a fan or music parent.  As every musician knows, having an audience is very important.

In short, Pepper is made up of folks that conduct the groups, hold the folders and sit behind the music stands. We are also the folks clapping in the audience, singing in the pew, and cheering wildly from the bleachers. 

Those kids in San Jose may never know how much the Pepper crew wants them to love music; a love kindled by interesting music and a great teacher. But, when we see those kids participating in the arts, we know we’ve done our job. We are so very happy to contribute in a small way to passing music on to new generations. That’s what Pepper does. That’s who we are.