The Music Shoppe's Story

We’re a company built by drummers, but don’t hold that against us!

Our story begins with a small drum & guitar shop in Downtown Bloomington by the name of Noonan’s Music Co. 

Owner John Noonan was a prolific drummer and educator. He got his start playing drums for silent films, and eventually landed a gig at Illinois Wesleyan as a percussion professor. His first student to graduate with a degree in percussion performance was Tom Wood. 

Tom helped out at Noonan’s Music Co. in his spare time in order to pay his way through school (the millennial writing this blurb is weeping on the inside). In 1961, Tom made an offer to purchase the company, thus creating The Music Shoppe Inc. 

Cue celebratory trumpets.

Tom Wood (left) and John Noonan (right)

Tom wanted to make a store that served the needs of music education locally. To that end, he added new lines of wind instruments and accessories, expanded the print music selection, and eventually brought in instrument repair. Bunny Wood, Tom’s wife, managed the store while Tom would visit local schools to serve the needs of the music directors.
 In 1969, the store was moved to a larger location in Uptown Normal, where it stayed for 30 years. [Fun tangent: that location is now Maggie Miley’s Irish Pub. We’re the reason there’s a wall cutting the space in half; one side was band & orchestra, the other was print music and acoustic pianos.]
 In 1973, Tom and Bunny needed some extra hands. Conveniently, their son Randy had just graduated, like his father, from IWU with a degree in percussion performance. As Randy likes to recall,

“I told them I’d work there for the summer. Somehow that turned into 43 years.”


Shortly after hiring Randy, Terry Houchin joined the company as a school sales representative. Randy and Terry went back a long way; they went to high school together, both played percussion, and both studied percussion at Illinois Wesleyan. 

See what I meant about being a company built by drummers?

Randy and Terry went on to define the future of the company, continuing to refine the focus on serving the needs of music education. When Tom retired, he left the company in the very capable hands of Randy and Terry as co-owners. 

In 1983, Randy and Terry opened Pro-Sound Center, a separate store location in College Hills, Normal to tap into the explosive growth of electronic instruments. Pro-Sound Center quickly became the area’s go-to spot for guitars, drums, keyboards, PA and more. 

In 1989, The Music Shoppe opened a Champaign location in a house just a few blocks off the downtown area. Randy’s nephew Jonathon Breen worked there for several years before going on to work for Yamaha, but (spoiler alert!) he comes back into the story later.

In 1999, The Music Shoppe of Normal was again needing more space, so the store was moved out to the College Hills area in the same shopping mall as Pro-Sound Center. This is its present day location. Although it should be mentioned that the stores played musical chairs in the available spaces. That tradition continues to the present day.

Who can forget 2008? The economy crashed. Thankfully The Music Shoppe did not. But there were some money saving measures put in place, such as formally combining the stores in the long-winded “The Music Shoppe and The Music Shoppe’s Pro-Sound Center.” Don’t worry, it only took about 10 years to realize how bad that sounds. We’re just The Music Shoppe now.

Around the time of the market crash, Terry started an affiliate program for the store, partnering with guitar-centric music stores around the state to supply band & orchestra rental instruments. One of the first affiliates was Daddy O’s Music Shack in Springfield, IL. This partnership was so important to the company that in 2016, Daddy O’s officially became The Music Shoppe’s third location. 


Randy and Terry were both moving towards retirement at this point, so in 2018 Randy’s nephew Jonathon Breen (remember him from earlier?) took over the reigns of the company. Thankfully Jonathon is a saxophone player and not a drummer. 

Jonathon has continued to grow the company that his grandfather started. In 2019, the Springfield store moved to a new flagship location. In 2020, well… there was a pandemic so not a lot happened. But we did get this brand-new website, which is pretty cool!