Students of all ages are making beautiful music, with help from the talented team at Pfabe’s Music

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Founded by Edsel Pfabe in 1946, Pfabe’s Music’s newest owner is music lover John Budnik, pictured left with staff members: Matt Chaffe, Corey Masters, Ryan Poje, and Gina Artale. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Patricia Nugent

One of the largest music stores in Northeast Ohio, Pfabe’s Music in Painesville has been making noise on the local music scene the past 77 years.

The location lives up to its tagline, “Everything in music,” offering private lessons, instruments for sale or lease-to-own, instrument repair and concerts. Founded by Edsel Pfabe in 1946, its newest owner is John Budnik, who played clarinet in middle school and is a music lover along with his wife and five children.

The spacious store is loaded with every type of instrument, from beginner recorders to woodwinds, brass, string instruments, percussion and keyboards, as well as all the accessories to support them. They also carry difficult-to-find specialty instruments such as Paul Reed Smith guitars.

Pfabe’s works with most of the schools in the area to fill their band and orchestra chairs.

“If a student isn’t sure which instrument is the best fit, one of our staff can offer a play-test appointment, letting them get a good feel for each one,” says John. “Everyone who works here has a unique musical background, most playing many instruments, and that translates to the high-level service we offer our customers. We’re fortunate to have some mega-talented teachers on staff who give more than 100 students weekly lessons. They also go above and beyond to get our students plugged in to the local and broader music scene, and onto college and musical careers. For instance, one of our students recently played at Carnegie Hall.”

The instrument programs make it easy for families, allowing them to go on month-to-month plans without contracts, and eventually lease to buy the instrument they play. A 36-month financing program has zero interest, and students can switch instruments at any time. They also offer free pickup and delivery of instruments.

Pfabe’s Music is loaded with every type of instrument, from beginner recorders to woodwinds, brass, string instruments, percussion and keyboards, as well as all the accessories to support them.

For Budding Beethovens
The Mozart Effect is a popular scientific theory that listening to Mozart’s music, or other classical music, will make children smarter. Numerous studies over the years have backed up the theory.

“Music unites both hemispheres of the brain,” explains John. “It helps children express their emotion and improve socially and intellectually. Practicing instruments is also a great form of early discipline and establishing work ethic.”

The store kicks off its Music FunTime program in the next few weeks.

“The program is based on research we discovered from Johns Hopkins that children 7-and-under can learn to read music notation and play instruments while fostering their ability to grasp math and science as they develop,” says John.

Two weekly sessions will take place on the store’s performance stage, one for toddlers 18 months to 2 years old, and the other for ages 3 to 7.

Run by pianist Gina Artale, the Music FunTime program teaches kids through percussion and keyboard lessons.

“This is a nice way to help bring ‘covid babies,’ who may still be struggling socially, out of their shell,” she says.

Children aren’t the only ones who benefit from studying music.

“We have a large group of adults, retirees and empty-nesters who also benefit from learning something new,” he says. “For anyone who has ‘playing the piano’ on their bucket list, we can make that happen.”

Pfabe’s Music is located at 1484 Mentor Avenue in Painesville. The store earned the Milestone Award from the National Association of Music Merchants in 2021. Call 440-357-5513 or visit The store will buy used instruments.