‘Under the Spotlight’ with Ackerman Music


What’s your background, and what originally drove you to open Ackerman Music?

I studied the clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music. I then went into making & restoring early flutes & clarinets, as well as repairing modern woodwind instruments. I also taught repair at Merton College for about 30 years.

Ackerman Music opened in 1994. I always wanted to have another shop after having one for about 3 years back in the 1970’s. Now we have 3 shops!

If you had to share one unique selling point of your business, what would it be?

All instruments are checked through our workshop prior to sale. Our workshops are at the heart of our business and most instruments just do not work properly straight out of the box.

We are also one of the few sheet music specialists left in the UK. We have over 40 thousand pieces on display across our shops. Customers love to browse our selection.

Tell us about the way you interact with local players, venues, teachers etc.

Although we have a big online presence, we have always been very much a local business working with hubs, teachers and customers. We are often in attendance at workshops and conferences and also support several local music schools.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for you in 2022?

Getting customers back into shops. During lock-down customers got used to shopping online, and a lot have not yet returned to physical visits.

Tell us about a famous customer

I once restored an early clarinet for Paul McCartney. We see quite a few local celebs, particularly in our Brighton branch. Katie Price, Norman Cook, Passenger and many more.

What are you currently listening to?

Bob Dylan, Duffy and my collection of 78 records featuring famous clarinet players of the past!

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