209 staff reporter
By the time Kyle Barker was in the music store business for one year, he owned three stores.
“Everyone in the music store business comes in through the backdoor. No one ever plans to have a music store,” said Barker. “I just like music.”
Despite Barker’s roundabout entrance into the music scene, as the owner and operator of his sole store Barker’s Music in Modesto, his front door is heavily trafficked with students, young and old, looking to begin or improve their craft.
Barker’s passion for the music industry has remained constant since founding the stores in 1975. A professional musician that plays at local haunts, such as offering guests of the Vintage Lounge and Piano Bar in Turlock musical accompaniment or playing the organ before screenings at the Modesto State Theater, Barker has made music a reality for hundreds of other locals. Barker’s Music employs several California State University, Stanislaus music program graduates who teach over 225 students in the areas of piano, guitar, bass, drums and vocals.
“What I have noticed is that the lesson programs are doing really well and most music stores have to offer a lesson program. You can go into the business planning to sell just musical instruments, but most stores need to diversify and offer other services like lessons,” explained Barker.
Barker’s Music also offers locals instruments for purchase or for rent with a focus mainly on pianos and digital pianos or keyboards, with a selection of guitars as well. As the only franchised Yamaha piano seller between Sacramento and Fresno, Barker has monopolized the market of the grand piano that has made a namesake for itself as a favorite among musicians. While purchasing a piano, or any instrument for that matter, is typically a serious investment, Barker’s Music maintains an accessible feel with their local and authentic atmosphere.
“You should always be honest and transparent with people and that’s always been important for us,” said Barker.
Barker’s Music is located at 3125 McHenry Avenue in Modesto. From highway 99 North, take the Briggsmore Avenue exit, turn right onto West Briggsmore Avenue, turn left onto McHenry Avenue and in one mile the destination is on your left.