John Packer Blog

Welcome to the John Packer blog. Here we’ll keep you updated on all the latest happenings at John Packer Ltd, all the latest music news, musical instruments and competitions.

Month List

Join our Team: Full-Time Vacancy in our Retail Store

by Administrator 10. September 2014 10:31

John Packer Ltd is one of the most successful specialist music shops in the UK.

We are looking to recruit a new full time member of retail staff to act as assistant to the Woodwind and Brass Department Managers.

The role requires someone who is a capable musician (a music degree would be ideal, but certainly grade VIII or better would be a minimum requirement) with a speciality in a woodwind or brass instrument(s). The successful candidate will be intelligent, enthusiastic, articulate, diligent, reliable, reasonably numerate and familiar with standard proprietary computer systems such as Word, Outlook, Excel etc).

The role involves dealing with all aspects of sales and support to match the specific requirements and high expectations of customers  in our area of expertise within the music industry.

Saturday working is involved on a rota basis with a day off in lieu for any Saturday worked.

The remuneration package is competitive and will relate to the experience of the successful applicant.

Please apply by email in the first instance, with CV and covering letter, to: jon@johnpacker.co.uk

 

Closing date for applications: September 30th. 2014.

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Saturday Vacancy in our John Packer Store

by Administrator 2. September 2014 16:17

We are looking for a musician to help in our busy retail premises on Saturdays.  

The successful candidate will play a woodwind or brass instrument to a good standard. They also need to be intelligent, articulate, accurate and a good communicator.

Sales experience would be helpful, but is not essential as training will be given. This is a ‘people’ business, so musical ability, attitude and personality are more important.

Please apply in writing with cv in the first instance to our Retail Manager, Andy Still: andy@johnpacker.co.uk 

Deadline 30th September, 2014.

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Stop Being a Music Lover - be a Player Instead!

by Administrator 4. March 2014 11:28

Learn to Play Day

On Saturday, April 12th, John Packers will be taking part in the Nationwide Learn to Play Day. The day is an opportunity for anyone who’s ever had an interest in playing a musical instrument from piccolo to a tuba to explore moving from the concept to the reality!

Our experienced staff will be on hand to demonstrate and talk about the different instruments and show how to get the first sounds. This will very much be a hands on event to give the potential player the best introductory experience.

There will also be special deals and low cost hire schemes - from £15 per month - to enable customers to move from being a listener into a player with the least financial commitment. We will also have details of a myriad teachers in the local area to ensure that the player has the best chance of success.

 

Tell everyone you know!

NB. Please bring ID if considering hiring.

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CASS Members Receive Special Discount

by Administrator 15. January 2014 11:34

John Packer Ltd has been a long term supporter of CASS, and for many years has offered a special 20% discount* to its members.
To receive your unique discount code simply contact jean@johnpacker.co.uk

*Terms & Conditions apply: Offer valid for 20% off clarinet and saxophone accessories, not including reeds which are already heavily discounted. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotional discounts. Offer not exchangeable for cash. Offer subject to change without notice.

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John Packer Goes Mobile!

by Administrator 10. January 2014 10:22

The John Packer mobile webiste will go live on Tuesday, January 14th, making it even easier to browse our website and make orders while you're on the go!

The website is fully optimised and compatible with all major devices. So, if you find you're suddenly without a decent reed, or in need of more valve oil, a couple of clicks and we'll have your order processed and ready to go!

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about the new site please feel free to post on our facebook page or tweet us.

 

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New Job Vacancy at John Packer Ltd

by Administrator 9. January 2014 09:38

John Packer Ltd are looking for a capable individual to join their sales team to support continuing growth in their export markets.

This is a demanding and full time role with considerable responsibility. The successful candidate will need to be an experienced musician with good organisational skills and a high level of accuracy. Some sales experience would be beneficial, but full training will be given. Competence in foreign language(s) and familiarity with standard proprietary design software would also be an advantage, but are not essential. Familiarity with standard office software/processes is a pre-requisite.

We are a team company and this is a team role.

The job is based in our Taunton administration centre and involves all aspects of sales with additional elements of marketing/PR & relevant administration.

A generous remuneration is on offer to the right person and we are looking to fill the post immediately.

The closing date for applications is February 14th, 2014.

Apply in the first instance by emailing a CV and a short covering letter to Company Director Annie Gardner - annie@johnpacker.co.uk

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John Packer Ltd nominated for ‘Most Innovative Retailer’

by Administrator 4. December 2013 16:07


International woodwind and brass retailer John Packer Ltd has been nominated for ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ for the Music Teacher Magazine Awards For Excellence 2014. Now in their second year, the awards, hosted by the widely respected Music Teacher Magazine, seek to reward musical businesses, institutions and groups who excel in a variety of given categories. The ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ category seeks to reward the retailer that “has proactively met and developed the needs of the music education sector”. Culminating in an evening of celebrations on Thursday 20 March, the award ceremony will be held in the Barbican’s stunning Garden Room and Conservatory and hosted by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor.

John Packer Ltd have worked closely with the education sector for over 40 years and have contributed to a shift in the cultural relationship between music retailers, schools and colleges.

Their involvement in the creation of the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS), which quickly became a nationwide provision, supported the growth of music in schools by making instruments more accessible. Now, with music losing its significance in the modern curriculum, John Packer Ltd is fighting not only to restore its rightful position, but also to change the way in which is it perceived. The wide variety of benefits that music offers is already well documented - positive impacts on mind, health, socialisation, self-esteem and academic prowess - all of which generate positive outcomes in the education system and also far beyond in the wider community. Through the creation and promotion of the AIPS, and integration with a wider educational policy, John Packer Ltd hope to be able to contribute to the fight against what’s been described in The Times newspaper as a “national tragedy”.

More recently, and integral to their commitment to supporting the needs of the educational sector, John Packer Ltd’s own instrument line, JP Musical Instruments, has also made big waves. JP Musical Instruments have been developed in collaboration with world class woodwind and brass designers including Smith-Watkins, Sterling and Rath. The result? High quality and performance at an accessible price - parents get better value and schools and LEA’s get more from their budgets. Designed by such guru’s, these instruments have captured some of the magic usually reserved for instruments of much higher value - more people in more schools playing better instruments.

For the future, John Packer Ltd are committed to continue working with the education sector nationally and locally to try to create and inspire more musicians and support the resurrection of practical music making in schools across the UK.

The creative importance of music in schools

by Administrator 25. November 2013 14:23

This letter is in reply to the article in The Times (19 Nov) titled "The creative importance of music in schools", a copy of which can be found on their website at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article3925304.ece


Dear Editor

On the subject of the decline in music education in schools, I would disagree with the contributor who described the current situation as a ‘national tragedy’. I think that barely begins to describe the cultural and academic disaster that is not only unfolding relentlessly, but also accelerating, before us.

There is little benefit perhaps in detailing the cause of our current predicament, but the prevailing situation is an almost perfect storm of preconditions necessary to snuff music out of education in large areas of the UK.

1)    Many Hubs only have resources to deliver Wider Opportunities (whole classroom tuition) projects and maintain their area ensembles (county orchestra’s etc)
2)    In these areas, the majority of the teaching in schools is often carried out by independent self-employed teachers.
3)    Those hubs wanting to engage schools with non Wider Opportunities teaching are now competing with (and losing against) the teachers that they recently made redundant who can offer a cheaper alternative.

Consequently, huge tracts of the UK have no cohesive, structurally supported or strategically co-ordinated music provision at all.

Music provision in primary schools offers little kudos in the eyes of the government where all eyes are on success in other target areas (numeracy and literacy etc) and all resources are given to playing the government game so that success occurs both in league tables and with the Ofsted inquisitors. Musical success gains almost no recognition and is not a supported by the government as major feature in the curriculum. Consequently, the rich seam of beginners ore that primary schools provided for the secondary schools has been all but mined out.

The bizarre thing about all this is that it is occurring despite a wealth of incontrovertible evidence that music has benefits beyond simple musicianship. Among its many qualities are the ability to improve the mind, health, socialisation and self esteem as well as offer vital life lessons. For example the relationship between input and outcome. There is no frivolous, life cheapening instant gratification with practical music making. Music is regarded by too many as simply being something that is ‘nice’ to have and the reality is that there is active negative discrimination in curricular terms.

If you ever go on a sales course, you will be told that people respond to benefits rather than technical details. A salesman won’t dwell on the details of how something functions, but will concentrate on explaining how their client’s life will, in some profound, practical and tangible way, be enhanced by their purchase.

I believe that the best education that we can offer to H.M. Government and school heads (and parents) is the message that music gives tangible and significant benefits. These benefits need to be sold to anyone in a position to aid in supporting music provision. Music matters because it has the potential to help a school achieve higher academic standards, to reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour and truancy, to give health benefits and to build generations of well rounded individuals. The clear benefits for the Government are that it can assist in achieving its academic targets and it can also save money by reducing the need for support services to deal with the effects of bad behaviour (including outside the school environment) and truancy etc. Some these benefits will leave indelible and significant marks on the broader community far beyond the school playground and far beyond an individual’s school career.

As a musician myself (and I mean that in the sense that musician is what I am rather than what I do), I am of course concerned about the decline in something that has been a part of world culture for centuries. However,  I don’t want to encourage action purely to maintain a long standing habit or because music is ‘nice’. It has become a cliché to say that music changes lives, but those of us who have experienced it know the truth of the statement. More importantly, the wealth of research that has been carried out is in full endorsement of it. How many non-musicians have experienced teary eyes when watching Gareth Malone’s choral series and how many of those that he has tutored have said that their lives have changed irrevocably as a result of their brief experience?

Why then, is something that has the capacity to have such a positive effect on education in particular and, consequently, on society in general being cast to the winds.

The Government surely must immediately engage with Music Mark to come up with a strategy for re-introducing music to the core of the education system (starting in the primary sector) in a manner whereby high quality instrumental lessons are provided along with sufficient funding to allow this to be sustained indefinitely as a key element of the very fabric of mainstream education in the UK.

It is simply indefensible to consider the possibility of decline into oblivion or for it to be relegated to the equivalent of game reserves in the leafy suburbs of middle class suburbia where it can finally become extinct out of the public eye.

This is not in any way a tilt against those dedicated people involved in music hubs who are doing their level best to offer high quality music provision in the most difficult of circumstances. They have my respect, admiration and (unfortunately) sympathy. I hope that they will have the opportunity of delivering music to the standard that they would wish under a new regime where the true value of music in education and the community is finally fully recognised.
 
Jon Parkinson
Director
John Packer Ltd

Free Christmas Gift Guide with 25% off mutes, cases, stands and mouthpieces.

by Administrator 21. November 2013 14:50


To say thank you for all your support over the past year, we have put together a free Christmas Gift Guide full of great ideas for your musical friends and family. Featuring a range of brass, woodwind, general and gift ideas, there is something for everyone, whether your budget is £5 or £5,000. As well as a great selection of ideas and suggestions for Christmas we are also giving you some fantastic discounts on a wide range of accessories.

Sign up for our general newsletter before Tuesday 26 November 10am and we’ll send you codes and the Christmas Gift Guide to give you:

25% off all Mutes
25% off all Cases
25% off all Stands
25% off all Mouthpieces

To sign up for our newsletter visit www.johnpacker.co.uk/newslettersubscribe/ and fill in your details.

Our Christmas opening times are:
Mon 23 Dec: 9:30 - 5:00
Tues 24 Dec: 9:30 - 12:30
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: Closed
Fri 27 Dec:9:30 - 5:00
Sat 28 Dec: 9:00 - 5:00
Sun 29 Dec: Closed
Mon 30 Dec: 9:30 - 5:00
Tues 31 Dec: 9:30 - 12:30
Wed 1 Jan: Closed
Thurs 2 Jan: 9:30 - 5:00

For delivery before Christmas, please order before Wednesday 18 December for Second Class and Friday 20 December for First Class. Any large items including instruments and cases& gig bags that require postage by courier must be ordered before Friday 20 December.

Happy Christmas from all the staff at John Packer Ltd.

Terms & Conditions: offer valid until 31/12/2013. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer only valid for purchases online. 

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Yamaha fanfares new XENO range

by Administrator 29. October 2013 15:06



Over 90 VIP Yamaha brass and woodwind dealers from 16 European countries formed a capacity audience at the historic Theatre Kehrwieder in the heart of Hamburg’s fashionable warehouse district on 30 September to witness a new chapter in the illustrious history of XENO, as Yamaha unveiled the latest additions to its award-winning range of trumpets.

The event was characterised by exceptional performances from seven of the world’s most accomplished and respected trumpet artists. It is testament to Yamaha’s relentless research and development work on the XENO range that such a roster could be assembled for the event.

The evening was expertly hosted by R&D manager Thomas Lubitz and brass product specialist Timo Hanf, both of whom provided humorous and informative links between performances They also conducted highly educational question and answer sessions with the artists, who each gave their own personal opinion on the XENO instruments and their impressions of the improvements Yamaha have now made to the 16-strong range.

Artists taking part included UK-based Philip Schartz, principal trumpet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; the Italian, Andrea Tofanelli, also recently appointed to the board of directors of the International Trumpet Guild; French Instrumentalist Sylvain Gontard; local Hamburg boy Ingolf Burkhardt, who is with the NDR Big Band; Vincente Campos from Spain, who is Professor of Trumpet, Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Valencia; soloist and Professor at Conservatoire National re region de Rueil-Malmaison, Eric Aubier and the explosive Norwegian soloist Frank Brodahl, who is also Musical Director of Norwegian Blaseensembelet.

Two key and common themes emerged as the artists provided rare and personal insights into their opinion of the new instruments. Firstly, the new instruments do not represent one big change, rath, many small, subtle improvements that combine to produce much better sounding, more versatile and more playable instruments for all musical styles. Additionally, Yamaha is keen to stress that they have maintained current price points thus ensuring that the new models offer exceptional value for money.

Secondly, the assembled artists all noted the great projection and free character of the instruments. This allows the players to build their own personal sound, giving them unprecedented creative freedom at the highest levels of performance, the instruments ‘coming to’ the players without them needing to work too hard to find ‘their’ sound.

Trumpets are at the heart of Yamaha’s brass instrument range and the groundbreaking YTR-1, the very first Yamaha trumpet, was introduced in 1966. Providing the benchmark for all subsequent brass instruments, the new XENO trumpets remain true to the vision of the designer of the original trumpets. The XENO range has now expanded to 16 instruments, comprising medium and large-bore models, standard and reverse type models and a variety of finishes.

Yamaha spokesman Ian Frankland, commenting on the launch, said: “With such a stellar line-up of some of the world’s finest players, this is the perfect start to the next chapter in the history of XENO. The range now offers great variety and options ensuring that serious players can find their sound. The huge variety of sounds available from the new models provides tremendous creative freedom whatever the musical style”      

If you are interested in trialing any of the new Yamaha Xeno instruments, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our brass team. Steve Herbert, our Brass Manager is more than happy to discuss the new range with you further. he can be contacted at steve@johnpacker.co.uk or by calling 01823 282386 (menu option 1)

This article was featured in British Bandsman October 2013 http://britishbandsman.com/

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