Changes are afoot…
June 29, 2012

New book display!

Big changes are in the works at The Leading Note. We are currently implementing a plan to redesign our floor layout that will create more space for music in tight corners.


The first step in this plan is already complete: our “book section”, that is the place where we keep books about music, has been moved to the front of the store. In this location the books are more prominent, visible, and browsable. Come check it out!

Biographies and more!

Children's Books!

The rest of the front room will be shuffled around in the coming weeks. A few highlights to look forward to: piano collections will be easier to browse and you will be able to see the covers; the strings will have their own space alongside chamber music; piano methods and theory will be put together on neighbouring bookcases.

For comparison, here is the front of the store before:

Old front display.

The wind room will undergo some major renovations in July also: seven new bookcases will be moved into the room to make a new home for brass and percussion and more space for flute and clarinet.

In the back room, both choral and vocal music will be expanded significantly while harp will find a new home beside organ.

While these changes will take some getting used to for our regular customers, they will allow us to stock more music in every section. We last expanded back in 2004! We would love to hear your feedback as we implement this new design. Please post your comments below.

What do you think of our new
front-and-centre book section?

Another local bookshop closes its doors
June 13, 2012

After the closure of Nicholas Hoare’s Ottawa and Montreal locations at the end of April (and their gorgeous wooden bookshelves), we were saddened to learn yesterday of the imminent closure of Mother Tongue Books in Old Ottawa South. 

In a beautifully worded open letter, the co-owners of Mother Tongue Books write about the challenges of running a bookshop—they call it “extreme retail”—and the dramatic changes that continue to take place in the bookselling industry.  The authors note, however, that with all these challenges come great rewards, a sentiment that definitely rings true with us at The Leading Note (just replace “book” with “music score” in the excerpt below): 

Bookselling is a beautiful way to share ideas (and ideals), and to support new journeys of discovery, learning and change. One of the great joys of being a bookseller is putting the right book in the right hands. What a wonderful gift to be a part of the reading and creative lives of our customers and community!

The co-owners’ letter is worth reading in its entirety.  The authors make a case for supporting local shops because they in turn support and build community:

Now, more than ever, it is important to support your remaining local booksellers and businesses. They are the building blocks of vibrant neighbourhoods and communities. Next time you are at a community event, take the time to see which local businesses supported it; in turn, support those businesses.

Although The Leading Note is not a traditional “book store”, we feel a certain allegiance to all small, independent businesses, especially community-oriented ones like Mother Tongue Books.  With print music being our primary focus, the move to digitization will have an impact on us.  We will do our best to keep up with these changes and already offer a quick digital download printing service for last minute orders.  However, our passion will always be for a beautifully printed and bound publication.  We would love to hear our customers’ perspectives on these recent events.  Do you endeavour to support local businesses when possible?  Do you see yourself moving to a digital product in the near future?   

We at The Leading Note are certainly most grateful for your continued support of our little shop.  We wish the owners of Mother Tongue Books great success in their future endeavours.  Let’s hope that no more local shops will close their doors in the near future, further impoverishing Ottawa’s cultural industry.