The prestigious music company, established by Harold Edstrom and Everett Leonard, is the world’s largest and number 1 print music publisher, starting the best-selling techniques for learning guitar, piano, Band, and orchestra, and books on almost any instrument conceivable. They also distribute Berklee Press, DeHaske Publications, Robert King, Faber Piano Adventures, Peermusic Classical, Boosey & Hawkes, and many more prestigious publishers.
Harold “Hal” Edstrom, his brother Everett “Leonard” Edstrom, and their friend Roger Busdicker established a famous dance band in Winona, Minnesota, in the late 1930s. Because their strict father forbade them from using the family name for a band, Harold and Ev combined parts of their names to form hal leonard. After the Band disbanded in 1947, the Company was formed. While Roger and Harold were directing award-winning high school bands in Winona, Ev opened a music business under the Hal Leonard brand. Most school bands played serious classical music, but Harold and Roger had the unusual ability to compose popular songs for school bands, thanks to their professional expertise.
Shortly, band directors from all across the country were requesting their arrangements. Hal Leonard moved into other sectors, including instructional materials for every instrument, voice, and ensemble, and began mimeographing and retailing copies. Keith Mardak and friends founded Learning Unlimited, a new branch, in 1970 to produce the first book/audio music teaching materials. Due to this branch’s rapid growth, Mardak was elevated to Hal Leonard’s general manager. The Company was bought from its original owners by an internal management team led by Mardak in 1985. They substantially boosted its publishing output and pursued a series of acquisitions under Mardak’s direction, resulting in an unparalleled period of growth for the firm.
With the development of MyLibrary, a cloud-based gateway for their books with online material, they continued to innovate in print music. Customers who purchase books that include online audio can listen to the content by entering a unique code located within each book. The audio that may be streamed or downloaded includes PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows one to slow down sounds without altering the pitch.
Recently, in 2020, hal leonard Digital Books debuted their very own unique and exclusive streaming e-book format. These interactive, cloud-based publications were created with musicians in mind, and many of them contain embedded video or audio. Essential Elements Music Class was released in 2019 as a cloud-based, online resource for general music education. It includes songs, lesson tools, ukulele and recorder lesson plans, and many more resources for Tom Lee Music educators.