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Winter NAMM 2010: wrap up
By Sam Bennett
1/18/2010 9:29:00 PM  
Saturday night I caught the redeye flight out of LAX and meandered my way back to Atlanta.  Low on sleep, my father and I prepared our showroom for a visit by an area church considering a new instrument for their sanctuary.  No rest for the weary traveler, but then NAMM was worth it.  I even have a few pictures to share.

Between my laptop, camera, video camera and cellphone, I found it difficult to weild the right media weapon.  No, I don't have a smartphone yet, but perhaps next year.  The bigger picture is that what I really needed was my own crew of photographers and cameramen, because everywhere I looked was something I wanted to share later.  I don't know what notions you may have about the music industry, but the NAMM Show encourages all kinds, all ages.

Mixed among the Suits (I wore a sportscoat) are crowds of blue jeans, leather and even some spandex.  I admit that some outfits really got my attention, but I loved that people could relax or dress for full effect.  This young lady dressed for full effect.
NAMM costume
And I continue to walk around the main floor of the showroom and I look to my right and see "Weird" Al Yankovic and think to myself, "No, she was weirder."
Weird Al Yankovic signing autographs
Okay, so besides the people watching, there was some great music.  I spent a few hours at the Estonia Piano booth to conduct business as well as help develop content for their new YouTube Channel.  Dr. Indrek Laul is both the owner and a very accomplished pianist.
Dr. Indrek Laul at Estonia Concert Grand Piano
Some other great musicians stopped by, so check the Estonia Piano Channel for videos to come.

There is also a stage in the lobby near the main entrance, and throughout the day, performers rev up the crowd.  NAMM organizers do a great job of inviting a good variety of performers.  PRS Guitars presented Orianthi and I snapped a few pictures.
Orianthi onstage at NAMM 2010
Orianthi onstage at NAMM 2010, closer
On another day, Wicked Tinkers started our day.  They brought their kilts and drums and put on a great show.
Wicked Tinkers on stage, NAMM 2010
Wicked Tinkers off stage, NAMM 2010
NAMM attracts musicians at every turn who just enjoy performing like these two guys who brought a battery-powered setup to play on the sidewalk outside the Anaheim Convention Center.
Street performers outside NAMM
You can also checkout PianoWorks Channel on YouTube for related videos.

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Tags: NAMM, Estonia
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Going To Anaheim: NAMM 2010
By Sam Bennett
1/9/2010 9:57:00 PM  
Next Thursday, my father and I will forgo necessary sleep and catch a painfully early flight out of Atlanta for a good cause, Winter NAMM 2010.  I feel it is for a good cause, though not charitable in the usual sense.  NAMM is a music trade show, THE music trade show, the biggest in the world.  But this trade show has a musical soul.

Okay, so NAMM is actually a fantastic organization with cool members and a social conscience; NAMM works year-round (over 100 years worth of work) to bring together the world's music makers, innovators and business leaders.  NAMM, the organization, hosts Winter NAMM 2010, the event that I'm giving up so many precious Zzzz's for.

I've been a few times now, but it is hardly routine.  We hustle across the huge grounds with more distractions than the Las Vegas Strip to make our appointments.  Imagine all instrument manufacturers, from trombones to drums to drum machines to sitars to synthesizers...and pianos in one place.  They can fit a ton of guitars in a booth but pianos are big!  Let's talk pianos:  Bosendorfer and Bechstein and Estonia and Mason & Hamlin and Schimmel, Sauter, Seiler, Steingraeber, Samick, Sohmer, (maybe I'll just hang out in the letter "S" pianos?) Story & Clark, Steinway is nearby....  Now multiply that by every other instrument.  Oh, and don't forget all the sheet music publishers, the stage lighting and effects, recording studio outfitters, software, and anything else you might need a treble clef for.  Take a breath and then fill those booths, hallways and hotels with passionate musicians of all levels. 

Nearly everyone there plays...so jam sessions spontaneously erupt all around you.  The famous and the rest of us get together, and we believe in music.

On a previous trip, I spent an hour shuttle ride from the airport getting to know the drummer from Matisyahu.  I enjoyed that.  At the same show, I went back to Bosendorfer's booth at the end of the day to find a bench and rest my feet.  Valentina Lisitsa stopped by, we closed the doors and enjoyed a private concert for about 15 of us.  She played for over 20 minutes, so cautious and curious passersby were drawn to her, and the crowd slowly grew.  That was special for us.

There is much trade at the trade show, but a bigger accomplishment for the industry is how NAMM serves to energize our people.  NAMM focuses the passion that brought us to the business of helping others make music.  That is special for us.

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Tags: NAMM, Bosendorfer, Estonia, Schimmel, Steinway, Story & Clark
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