Mak­ing mu­sic once more

Son of Mu­sic Mart owners opens new full-ser­vice shop in ABQ


Mu­sic lovers, meet Mu­si­cal­ity. The new busi­ness is a la­bor of love for Michael Keith, who wanted to make sure Al­bu­querque con­tin­ued to have a full-ser­vice mu­sic store af­ter the clo­sure of at least four mu­sic shops dur­ing the past few years.

Keith was part of the fam­ily that ran Mu­sic Mart, the largest of the shut­tered stores, and he has moved much of the sheet mu­sic in­ven­tory to his new busi­ness at 6201 Pan Amer­i­can Free­way, west of In­ter­state 25 and just south of Osuna.

The 3,100 square-foot space, which used to be a va­cant of­fice and ware­house, also of­fers in­stru­ment rentals and four stu­dios for pri­vate lessons.

“It’s a busi­ness, to me, that’s ded­i­cated to the arts in the com­mu­nity,” Keith said. “We’re sup­port­ing per­form­ers and grow­ing mu­si­cians. Kids nowa­days who want to play an in­stru­ment need a place to go. So it’s not just about re­tail.”

Keith said some of the peo­ple who were in­volved in the now-closed stores, such as Grandma’s Mu­sic, “shared opin­ions and in­sights” to help make his new ven­ture a suc­cess.

It’s not easy to open a mu­sic store, con­sid­er­ing the com­pe­ti­tion from on­line sources and the amount of in­ven­tory that has to be stocked to serve a wide au­di­ence. Some of what Mu­si­cal­ity sells are “spe­cialty items that, once ac­quired, you may not sell for a long pe­riod.”

Keith, who said he in­vested at least $75,000 in the busines, was able to un­der­take the ef­fort pri­mar­ily be­cause he in­her­ited from Mu­sic Mart the in­ven­tory of pop­u­lar and clas­si­cal song­books, as well as in­struc­tional man­u­als for all kinds of in­stru­ments.

And while there are mu­sic books avail­able on­line, copy­right laws re­strict the avail­abil­ity of scores so that you can see only a por­tion of a piece, he said. You also lose the abil­ity to “just come in and browse,” he said.

“When you’re out there as a mu­si­cian look­ing for reper­toire to play … you need a se­lec­tion,” he said. “We have things here that you don’t even know you need.”


Michael Keith, owner of Mu­si­cal­ity, strums on a ukulele at his new store. Keith, part of the fam­ily that ran the now­closed Mu­sic Mart, says he wants to make sure Al­bu­querque has a full-ser­vice store that of­fers a broad se­lec­tion of sheet mu­sic, in­stru­ment rentals and stu­dio space.

Mu­si­cal­ity car­ries sheet mu­sic in­ven­tory that owner Michael Keith in­her­ited from his fam­ily’s long­time store, Mu­sic Mart, which shut down ear­lier this year.

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