Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 36
 
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton



MAKING MUSIC: “Taking music lessons can improve self-esteem, enhance math and science skills, and reduce stress.” Michele Farrington, owner of Farrington’s Music, is shown near a display of the company’s many music accessories.

Farrington’s Music, A Princeton Institution, Has Moved to New Location on State Road

Do you yearn to try your skill on the trombone? The flute, clarinet, drums, piano, banjo? If this has been a secret personal urge or if you would like your children to experience the pleasures of music-making, Farrington’s Music is the place to be!

For nearly 50 years, this Princeton institution has been teaching kids to play music, as well as selling, renting, and repairing instruments. Formerly located on Spring Street, it has just moved to 947 State Road, only five minutes away. It also has locations in Princeton Junction, Hightstown, and Burlington.

“We really needed more space,” says owner Michele Farrington. “We didn’t have enough lesson space, and this new location is just fine. It also has very convenient parking.”

Ms. Farrington’s parents, E. Nelson and Betty Jane Farrington opened the business in 1962. Mr. Farrington was a pianist, and he and his wife believed that music was important in the lives of children and adults. Making music was a beneficial experience that would have positive results over the years.

Family Business

“I began working in the store as a teenager, and became owner 20 years ago,” says Ms. Farrington, who is pleased to continue the family business.

Instruction for all ages — from five and up — is offered in guitar, piano, drums, trumpet, flute, saxophone, violin, clarinet, trombone, among others, as well as in voice. In addition, the store rents and sells all instruments, including rentals to many public school bands in the area.

If individuals choose to rent an instrument, all rental costs can be applied toward the purchase of the instrument, explains Ms. Farrington. “Students are also taught care and maintenance of the instrument.”

Guitar and piano are the most popular, she adds, noting that, “A lot of kids like the school band instruments, such as sax, trumpet, flute, trombone, drums, and clarinet, too. We also have the French horn here.”

Lessons are $28 for a half-hour, once a week, and many instructors have been with Farrington’s for 10 years or more and have degrees in music. “I interview all the instructors, and we teach classical, jazz, rock, and the current music teens like today,” reports Ms. Farrington, “We always start with theory, teach the student how to produce a sound, and make it fun. Sometimes, our instruction can be the student’s first experience of music.

Another Language

“Some kids are very diligent about practicing. We want them to know that this is something they can have the rest of their lives. Music is relaxing and enriching. It’s another language.”

Farrington’s typically instructs 750 students over a 2-week period, and students often continue lessons for several years. “Sometimes, they take some time off, and then come back to it later,” she points out. “There is so much competing for their time today, with sports, and especially the internet. So many students come back later as adults and say, ‘I remember my lessons.’ and then they start bringing in their own kids, so we get new generations coming.”

Students give a recital in the summer, and receive an award medal. In addition, Farrington’s has established the Rock School program in which kids and adults can play together in a band. “We started it last summer with kids and adults getting together and playing once a week,” explains Ms. Farrington. “It includes drums, two guitars, and bass. We had several bands this summer, and we plan to have a performance in October.”

Ms. Farrington notes that instruction has been given to some famous musicians over the years. “Members of the Blues Traveler group took lessons with us when they were kids at Princeton High School, and John Popper purchased all of his harmonicas from us.”

Special Orders

Farrington’s also offers all the music accessories, such as guitar tuners, picks, reeds, music stands, metronomes, and sheet music of all kinds. If something is not in stock, they make every effort to fill special orders.

The company has seen many changes in the music business. “In the early years, when my parents started Farrington’s, the accordion was as popular as the piano,” reports Ms. Farrington. “Now, the internet is changing everything. It’s more and more of a competitor. But we provide really good value and quality instruction, one-on-one training. We can offer customers outstanding personal service. I really enjoy the interaction with the people. I like to see the kids, and I enjoy interviewing the teachers.

“Now, we look forward to having lots of students come to our new location. We’re up and ready to go!”

Farrington’s is open Monday through Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4. (609) 924-8282. Website: farringtonsmusic.com.

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