RPMDA Dealer Member Feature: Bertrand’s Music and Lessons

By Andrea Pelloquin, West Music Company

Welcome to our first RPMDA Dealer Member feature!  In every issue going forward we will be interviewing a new dealer member of RPMDA.  We want to get to know our fellow dealers and learn what makes them unique – and inspire us all to be the best dealers we can be!  Our first feature comes from the Southern California area, as they are in the same area as our convention! Below is my interview with Dennis Hallmeyer, General Manager of Bertrand’s Music and Lessons.  Enjoy!

Bertrand’s Music and Lessons

San Diego, CA – Poway, CA – Mission Viejo, CA – Pasadena, CA – Burbank, CA – San Bernardino, CA · www.bertrandsmusic.com

President/CEO: Jeff Bertrand
Number of employees (total): 75-100
Number of employees working in print music: All of our retail employees work with print music, but our Pasadena location specializes in sheet music!

Give us a brief history of your company:

Bertrand’s Music and Lessons was founded in 1983 by John Bertrand, Sr. in response to seeing a need for access to affordable good quality instruments in school band programs. As a former band director himself, Mr. Bertrand made sure that school music and servicing our local band and orchestra programs was a top priority. Building relationships with districts and schools throughout Southern California, Bertrand’s Music has now grown to 6 locations and is run by John’s sons: Joel, Jeff, John Jr., and Jacob. With our core values of customer first, community, music advocacy, positivity, adaptability, trustworthiness, and teamwork Bertrand’s Music and Lessons continues to focus on making sure every student has access to music education as a part of their normal school day.

Watch this video for a look inside the stores!  https://vimeo.com/303789452

Are you a full-line music store? Or do you focus on specific product lines?

We are Southern California’s premier school music dealer. We specialize in band and orchestra instrument rentals, sales, repairs, and lessons as well as offering acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, keyboards and more.

What is your company most known for? What is your main area of expertise?

We are best known for band and orchestra rentals, sales, and lessons. We work directly with many schools and districts and offer the best rental program in Southern California. Our goal is to offer high quality instruments at an affordable price and make sure every student has access to music education in their normal curriculum.

Tell us about your lesson program:

We have over 100 teachers at Bertrand’s Music locations, all of whom are background checked and teach in our clean and safe studio environment. At Bertrand’s Music locations we teach over 70,000 lessons per year. We offer both group and private lessons, one of our most successful programs being our Free Headstart Summer Music program where we get incoming 4th and 5th grade students ready to enter school band in the fall.

Why do you sell print music in your store? What benefits does it provide?

We sell a variety of print music in our stores. From school method books and etudes to piano methods and solo repertoire for band and orchestra instruments. We sell print music to provide support to our schools, music students, and piano teachers in our local communities. We want to make sure we are the resource that helps keep music alive!

Why is your company a member of RPMDA? What benefits does it give you?

We are committed to maintaining relationships with vendors and supporting our schools and students to the best of our ability. RPMDA offers specialized opportunities in networking with print music publishers and more focused information directly suited to our needs as a retailer. It also offers access to unique offers and promotions that we might not otherwise be aware of or have access to.

How does your company get involved with your community?

As one of our core values we ensure we are very active in our local communities. Some of the ways we get involved include hosting instrument “petting zoos” where students can hold and make a sound on a number of different band and orchestra instruments. We also take part in several street fairs, festivals, and jazz events – even in some cases as a primary sponsor. Additionally, we offer a free ukulele experience at our store locations that is led by an instructor and allows people to come in and learn some basic chords and strum and sing through a few songs!

As your store is in San Diego, what are some things you think our convention attendees should know about the area? If they have an extra day or two, what should they be sure to see?

Balboa Park is a great place to walk around and has several museums and activities to attend or take part in. Little Italy downtown has some great eateries and the world-famous San Diego Zoo or Wild Animal Park are always worth the trip. If anyone is a fan of beer be sure to take advantage of the outstanding craft beer scene – some of my favorite breweries include Stone in Escondido (go for the beer, stay for the food and the awesome scenery), Ballast Point in Miramar, and Alesmith. If you find yourself in the Ocean Beach area (a town stuck in the 60’s!) be sure to hit Hodad’s for amazing burgers and shakes in a unique atmosphere! Liberty station is a walkable public market comprised of good eats, artistic finds, brews, and local favorites right near the airport.