Encore Orchestral Strings is a small music store that specializes in string instruments such as violins, violas, cellos and basses. The shop is a sister company to Paige’s Music Store and comes highly recommended by one of the Warren orchestra teachers, Zachary Himes. 

     “Encore is actually one of the best places you could possibly go. John Rihani, who manages the shop, does an excellent job of pairing players with the right instrument,” Himes said.

     Intrigued by Himes’ recommendation and interested in upgrading my violin, I set off to Encore Orchestral Strings.

     Upon walking into the store, I immediately noticed the cozy ambiance. Despite its small size, the shop’s suitable decor and ample seating created a cozy space that I was eager to shop in. Decorated with a color scheme of light grey and black, violins and violas on the wall and cellos and basses on display, the decor surpassed my expectations. In addition to the calming color and fitting decor, the store offered plenty of seating, making customers feel comfortable to sit down and play instruments. As customers tested out instruments, associates were readily available to offer tips on ways to improve the instrument’s sound quality, helping players to improve their skills, regardless of if they purchase an instrument or not.

  Encore’s selection of instruments is housed in two different rooms, in which the options for instruments to play and purchase are varied. The main room that a customer enters as soon as they walk in has a variety of instrument options ranging from 200 to 500 dollars, which is ideal for tighter budgets. The showroom, which is off to the side in a closed room, has higher-end instruments ranging from 500 to 1,000 dollars, which are perfect for those who take playing seriously.  Having such a variety of offerings means that instruments are accessible to most customers, regardless of their budgetary constraints. These rooms are also a unique addition, giving customers a chance to get a feel for an instrument and the privacy to play.

     The accolades of the store go beyond ambiance and variety, however. The customer service was also excellent. When I entered the store, I was greeted by the manager, Rihani. He looked at my current violin and inquired about my mother’s budget. After that, he led us into the closed-off showroom to discuss a suitable violin choice for me. Rihani was very professional in his dealings with me. He allowed me to try numerous violins, leaving while I did so, ensuring it a private and quiet experience. When shopping at Encore, it is common for associates to recommend what instruments a customer should consider based on what they already have and what their budget is. Associates are generally very patient with those testing instruments, answering questions and suggesting other instruments to test. This is critical for customers at a music store because it enables them to feel confident about the recommendations made to them before making their purchase. 

     Further improving customer service for Warren Central Students like myself, Rihani was able to offer specific advice about the instruments that would be best suited for students in our orchestra program. Since Rihani has worked with Himes personally and knows about his standards when picking an instrument, his experience proved to be helpful for getting helpful recommendations. Having Rihani serve as a liaison also helped to minimize the awkwardness associated with the sometimes differing opinions in a student-and-teacher want from an instrument. 

     With a cozy ambiance, a vast selection of musical instruments, and knowledgeable associates, Encore Orchestral Strings proved to be a music store that was of high quality. The store, located at 5282 E 65th Street C, Indianapolis, IN 46220,  earns a 9/10 and is worth a visit for students who are considering upgrading their instruments or who just want to test out new options.