Making Music, Making Musicians
Paul Decker was about seven years old when he got his first drum set. Music has been a central part of his life ever since. As the owner of Music Villa, he is an integral part of Bozeman’s music scene. He took ownership of the business more than 15 years ago; his dad was the previous owner. It’s a family business, but Decker’s family is as big as the Bozeman music scene itself.
It is likely his family will soon span the nation because he was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). Decker has devoted his life to making music and helping musicians succeed. The metamorphosis of music in the electronic age has been a hurdle for many members of the music community. As a member of NAMM’s Board, Decker will have the opportunity to help independent music merchants handle these challenges.
“It can be challenging, determining how to navigate social media, marketing and community outreach,” he said. “I have already seen how much passion and dedication the people of NAMM have provided for the industry. I hope to add to the same passion and work towards keeping the music industry a fun and exciting place. I’m really looking forward to being involved with this group,” Decker said in a recent press release.
For a small town, Bozeman has some big bands and a vibrant music scene. I wanted to learn more about Music Villa’s role, so I asked Paul Decker some questions. Here is what he had to say:
SC: What do you hope to accomplish during your three-year term on the NAMM board?
PD: Offer any ideas to help others with marketing in today’s world and help keep kids and adults interested in music.
SC: What sort of issues do music merchants deal with today?
PD: Web and social media can be a challenge for dealers. We also deal with shrinking margins with online competition and rising costs in daily operations.
SC: I would love to know more about the music lessons and products offered at Music Villa.
PD: Music Villa is a full line combo store with the exception of Brass and Woodwinds. Our focus has always been with guitars and especially higher-end acoustic guitars. We also sell sound systems, keyboards, drums and percussion, and violins. We offer rentals of sound equipment, repairs, and lessons. We currently have 10 teachers on staff, and do a little over 200 lessons per week on piano, drums, guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo, ukulele, and bass guitar.
SC: Music Villa seems to be a hub for local musicians. How do you help them network with each other?
PD: Music Villa has always been a local hub for musicians in Bozeman. We have always encouraged people to come in and try our products and meet other people with the same passion for music.
SC: Can you tell me more about montanabands.com and montanamusicians.com?
PD: We created montanamusicians.com as a way for local players to network and find other musicians. montanabands.com is where people can go to find a local band to hire. We have always felt a commitment to growing and helping to keep a strong music community and the Bozeman musicians support us back.
SC: How did you gather such a talented team at Music Villa?
PD: It just seems to happen. The right people just come along at the right time and hopefully will be a part of a good experience at Music Villa.
SC: Are there any events/promotions/programs you would like readers to be aware of?
PD: Our website www.musicvilla.com is good place for people to sign up for our weekly newsletter or follow us on Facebook. We keep this updated daily with all the new stuff going on.
SC: You are the drummer for the Kris Clone Band, what are they working on right now?
PD: Kris Clone Band was just recently formed. Kris Clone on bass and vocals, Quinton King on Guitar, Storm Norrick on Fiddle, and I play drums. A mix of good old country, bluegrass, honkytonk and originals.
Music Villa continues its legacy as a mainstay on Main Street in Bozeman. Decker is working hard to make sure Music Villa becomes a mainstay everywhere. His work with NAMM allows him to share his strategies for success with retailers across the country, and he has a lot of knowledge and experience to share. He and his team have mastered the use of the internet as a networking and marketing tool; their webisodes, titled “The Music Store,” are a hilarious glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at one of Montana’s best music stores. Decker has created a place where everyone is enthusiastically in charge; a place where you can buy a guitar with a goat, and a place where music thrives in Bozeman.