Still on song: Walton’s music school to remain despite store closure
Full repertoire of singing and insrumental lessons on South George’s Street to continue
Waltons music shop in Dublin closed at the weekend, with instrument sales relocating to Blanchardstown, but the company’s music school is still running lessons 12 hours a day on the upper floors of the South Great George’s Street premises.
As Dubliners paused outside the shuttered shop on Monday morning, one woman lamenting what she described as the loss of “another Clerys”, staff upstairs in the building were preparing for another 12-hour day of singing and instrumental lessons.
Dave Mooney, a teacher and administrator at the school for a decade, said classes were running up to 10pm, Monday to Thursday, and up to 8pm on Fridays and all day on Saturdays.
“We came through the ‘music synth period’ and people are still playing instruments,” he said, referring to the difference between electronic devices and typically acoustic instruments.
Office administrator Sarah Walsh said after news of the shop closure emerged on Monday morning, the first two calls were from clients of the music school asking if it would still operate – and at the same location.
“It is, we are really busy with classes right now,” she confirmed.
There is clearly a vibrant community of people who still want to access “real” music, and the school’s noticeboard is festooned with notices from the likes of Donnybrook Choir, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and even notice of bursaries from St Patrick’s Cathedral.
But unfortunately, instrument sales in the ground floor shop have fallen off. People are now buying their music instruments online, explained Niall Walton, who said his first memories of the business go back to when he was aged four, when he visited the company’s (also since closed) North Frederick Street shop.
“We have had shops in Navan and Dún Laoghaire as well as in Dublin city centre, and we may be back to open a shop in the centre of Dublin again,” he said.
While he said instrument sales in the South Great George’s street shop had suffered from online competition, the business had also been hit by another rent review potentially doubling the cost of the ground floor space.
It was clear that people still wanted to come into Waltons for the advice and to test out instruments, Mr Walton said, but “they did not want to have the bother of transporting musical instruments home”.
The decision was taken to move sales to their company’s Blanchardstown store, which opened about two years ago.
Meanwhile, the “new” music school – it is running for about 20 years – is set continue to make memories for Dubliners, many of whom begin their relationship with music at the facility.