MMB Music’s History

Enhancing the Music World Since 1964

MMB Music, founded in 1964 under the name Magnamusic–Baton, Inc., began as a distributor of music published by leading European publishers.

Norm Goldberg, founder and Chairman of the Board of MMB Music, recognized Orff–Schulwerk as a major development in music education. Orff-Schulwerk, devised by German composer and educator Carl Orff, is an approach for teaching music to children. Beginning with workshops for music educators in the St. Louis area, MMB Music expanded to become a national company and the sole U.S. musical instrument distributor for Germany’s STUDIO 49 Orff Instruments. These instruments were developed by Klaus Becker–Ehmck, founder of STUDIO 49, and Carl Orff to be used for music education throughout the world.

MMB Music was the first music industry member to recognize the importance of music therapy. MMB Music assisted the profession by publishing music therapy resources. For almost 30 years, MMB Music was the only industry voice advocating and promoting music therapy as an important health care profession. The American Music Therapy Association has honored Mr. Goldberg and MMB Music by naming its library the Norman Goldberg Library.

Carl Orff and Studio 49

Carl Orff is an inseparable part of the history of STUDIO 49. In 1928, he and Karl Maendler, a friend and celebrated harpsichord maker, built the first xylophones based on the melodic barred instruments of the Indonesian gamelan. These instruments became indispensable for Orff’s teaching and for the development of what is known as “Orff–Schulwerk.”

One of Orff’s students, Paul Muller, introduced him to Klaus Becker–Ehmck, a young mechanical engineering student. A close personal friendship developed between Orff and Becker-Ehmck and became a lasting partnership. Becker–Ehmck worked with Maendler to build xylophones based on the ideas of Carl Orff.

In 1948, after Maendler’s retirement, radio Bavaria’s series of Orff Schulwerk broadcasts created great demand for Orff Instruments. In response to the new demand, the 22-year-old Becker-Ehmck founded STUDIO 49.

Klaus Becker-Ehmck’s wife, Marga, substantially contributed to the development of the firm. After Becker-Ehmck’s death in 1976, Marga carried on the traditions of the company until her death in 1983. Today, this distinguished family heritage is being carried on by their son, Bernd Becker–Ehmck.

Skilled craftsmanship, quality materials, and the use of modern production technology mean that STUDIO 49 Orff Instruments continue to be the standard by which all others are judged.