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The Piano Gal aims to strike a chord with music enthusiasts

Marta Hansen, The Piano Gal, offers sheet music, gifts, and used instruments on consignment.

Marta Hansen, The Piano Gal, offers sheet music, gifts, and used instruments on consignment.

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With the opening of her first retail venture in downtown Sun Prairie, Marta Hansen, 33, is realizing a dream. As an artist and lifelong musician looking for a creative outlet, Hansen had long been frustrated by the lack of music stores in her area. “There was nothing convenient on this side of town for music enthusiasts,” she said.

There is now. The Piano Gal Shop is a retail music store offering sheet music, supplies, and accessories for all instrument types, as well as used instruments in working condition for sale on consignment.

In addition to a selection of music-themed gifts from local artists, the shop features gifts and artwork Hansen has repurposed from old sheet music, piano keys, or parts of other instruments. She makes bracelets from the bass strings of pianos, and necklaces, pendants, and ornaments from piano key hammers.

Then there’s the furniture. “Upright pianos are the perfect size for office desks,” she said. An old Victorian in her back workshop is a work in progress that she envisions transforming one day into a bar, complete with a mirrored back, wine rack, and quite possibly, a small wine refrigerator.

What the store might lack in inventory she promises to make up for with customer service and unusual fare. “If someone buys a piano here, I’ll tune it. Our gifts are unique. We don’t just have busts of Beethoven.”

Lessons learned

Hansen graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in music education and taught music for six years. She decided to stay close to home and teach piano lessons after the birth of her first son.

Later, she became a self-taught piano tuner, studying intensely for several years, asking for advice from experts, and providing free tunings to hone her skills. 

(Continued)

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