by Christie Smith
Alfred Music is celebrating a particularly amazing milestone, as this year commemorates the company’s 95th year of helping the world experience the joy of making music. Ours is an industry with a very long history, but 95 is still a number you do not hear that often. Since 1922, Alfred Music has been dedicated to helping people learn, teach, and play music. Please join me in congratulating Alfred Music!
I had the privilege to talk with Iris and Ron about how the company got started and some of their best memories.
Christie: Iris, how did you and Morty meet?
Iris: As most people know, Morty’s father Sam owned a small music publishing company called Manus Music and mainly published Accordion music. My mother was the bookkeeper and as I had just started high school, I used to go in on Saturday to help out. Some Saturday’s Morty would come in as well. We only had five people in the entire office and that’s how we met and became friends and eventually married. The best move I ever made.
Christie: Ron, how did you get your start at Alfred Music?
Ron: I started working at Alfred on November 30th, 1988. I had been working as a recording engineer at a studio in Hollywood for three years and had become disillusioned with my prospects and the life I would have with a career in the recording studio. The realization hit me really hard and was devastating to me as I had earned a degree and worked several years at this, only come to the realization this wasn’t the life for me. I moved back in with my parents while I figured out what to do when my Dad came to me and said, “Why don’t you come work at Alfred for six months while you figure things out. It will put a little cash in your pocket and boost your self-esteem.” I started in sales working with Mike Green, David Hakim, and Keith McWhirter, under the sales management of Danny Rocks. Over the next six months, I got to know the retailers in our industry and began to make friendships. The people in our industry are what make it so great. I came to my Dad at the end of six months and said, “I figured out what I want to do for a career; I want to work at Alfred!” That was 29 years ago this year. I am so glad I took his advice.
Christie: What are some of your best memories, Iris?
Iris: Morty and I made many good friends in the music business. We took trips with some, visited the homes of others, and in general learned from and enjoyed all the RPMDA Conventions we attended. As we both loved what we were doing, we spent most of our days and nights together. And they were happy times.
Christie: What are some of the reasons you think Alfred Music was able to become so successful and make it to this great milestone?
Ron: Quality! My dad, Morty always told me that quality was the most important thing. He would tell me, “If you make something great, it will sell forever, if you make something fair, it will sell once.” That is really what we have always been about. We try to make the best music educational products we can. We don’t always succeed, but it isn’t for lack of effort. Life is short and the way we see it, why not do something great with your life and leave a mark? We are always striving to be great and do amazing things. At Alfred Music, we love what we do and it shows in the quality of our work and that translates into the fun we have doing it. We are proud and it shows.
Christie: Are there any other thoughts you want to share?
Iris: Working a lifetime with music and musicians was not always milk and honey, but it was as close to heaven on earth as we could get.
Ron: I am inspired every day by stories that teachers, students, and parents share with us about their music-making journeys and I am so grateful that Alfred Music gets to play a part. It is up to us to ensure that every person who has the desire to learn has access to a quality music education. Because if we don’t, who will?
Read Alfred Music’s Full History here: