A Look Inside The History Of Cooper Music – XIV

Just as with any business, there is a history. Where it all started, how it started and how it became who they are today. Long before the first "Welcome to Cooper Music" ever chimed the ears of a piano buyer, the history of the Cooper Family began. For the next few monthscooper piano, I will share with you, every Friday a special blog, containing the history of the Cooper family and creation of Cooper Music. We hope that you enjoy reading as Cooper Music is brought to life with memories.  



In 1933 the new president, Franklin Roosevelt, brought an air of confidence and optimism that quickly rallied the people to the banner of his program, known as the New Deal. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” the president declared in his inaugural address to the nation. In a certain sense, it is fair to say that the New Deal merely introduced types of social and economic reform. Cooper Music would also have to change. The high dollar trophy Player Pianos and solid mahogany Victrola Credenzas of the 1920s were the white elephants of the 1930s. They were moved to the basement to make room for 25-cent Century Sheet Music, 14-dollar Circle J guitars, 79-cent Columbia records and 15-cent kazoos. The customers didn’t need expensive player pianos to survive the times but John Cooper believed they didn’t want to live without music. The public’s continuing desire for music, even at bargain prices, was the path to survival for Cooper Music.

The New Deal, in some ways, accomplished what previously had taken generations. In fact, many of the reforms were hastily drawn and weakly administered; some actually contradicted others. And during the entire New Deal era, criticism and debate were never interrupted or pianosuspended. The Cooper Music family between founder Johnathon, older brother Will and younger brother John and Charles also argued and regularly criticized. New ways had to be found. The formerly successful high cost concerts and artist appearances had to go. The older family members were not in tune with the times. Their response to change was, at best, reluctant support.

Stung by Depression events, founder Johnathon and oldest son & heir Will were in reduced leadership roles. The high priced piano and Victrola sales the talented founder Johnathon and brother Will had produced in the 1920s, were gone. Johnathon (76), now faced retirement. Brother Will, looked upon, in boom times, by the town as a Cooper Music leader, was actually depressed and depending upon his younger brothers, John and Charles “Bus” Cooper for family support and his income.


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