By Bill Jones
Fifty years ago, I was a 23 year old who was wondering if my new business would last for even a year. To come up with the little capital we could, my wife, Marjorie, and I sold our house and one of our cars. I rode a bicycle to our first store. From those humble beginnings as solely a piano and organ store 50 years ago, Bill Jones Music on West Kingston Pike has evolved into one of the largest music stores in East Tennessee with a thriving music school and piano delivery business.
Throughout the years, our economy has had a lot of ups and downs, and while some years were good, others were pretty difficult. It seemed like every time the economy took a downturn, Marjorie was pregnant. Must have been a lot of downturns, since we ended up having eight children – who all play some type of instrument!
We have always kept up with the times and our customers’ needs. Here are just a few of the changes that would have been impossible to predict 50 years ago:
• Digital pianos, as the word “digital” wasn’t even in my vocabulary!
• Player pianos have gone from a pump sucking air through holes in a paper roll to digital player pianos with internet access to more than 30 channels of music types.
• Our home organ business that initially comprised half of our sales is now defunct.
• Music lessons for more than 350 students are available right here at the store, plus our amazing homeschool choir.
• Our music teachers have advanced degrees in voice, harp, guitar, drums, violin, and cello.
• How many people still love and cherish having a piano in their home!
For us personally, the biggest change occurred after our children grew up and left our home, because that is when Marjorie became an active part of the business and established our music school. Now, in addition to having our eight children (and 24 grandchildren), she has precious students who take lessons here every week. From babies in the Music Together program, to kids in the homeschool choir, to senior citizens taking private lessons, and everything in-between, Marjorie has built an incredible comprehensive program. It just amazes me every time I walk though our school.
Since I am now 74, people frequently ask, “When are you going to retire?” I asked my wife that question, and now I have the answer: “NEVER!” Marjorie genuinely loves the families who come here weekly and says there’s no way she would ever want to leave them without their music, so for the foreseeable future, it’s still full speed ahead!
Bill Jones Music
10412 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37922