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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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The Piano Power Play: an accessory that will keep your kids in piano lessons.
By Sam Bennett
9/8/2009 6:46:00 PM  

Playing the piano is a life-skill that many parents want their children to learn, but it takes time and hard work.  Along the way, your child's excitement and interest in the piano may go up and down, and what parent wants to fight for what is supposed to be a fun activity?  QRS Music Technologies developed an optical MIDI record strip that can be retro-fitted to almost any acoustic piano, and a smart parent can adapt this feature into a weapon against piano boredom!

Even an excited child with an interest in music will find that their piano practice time will compete with other worthwhile activities.  Parents want these activities to be fun as well as educational, but many are reluctant to push their children through the rough patches that accompany a long-term, committed activity like playing an instrument.  Consider the resource that your computer is for your children and now connect it to your piano lessons.

Story & Clark Pianos now come standard with this new technology.  School systems everywhere are quickly being introduced to its benefits and that is what this article is about.  The optical MIDI record strip allows the piano to send data from the piano keys back to your computer.  Once connected, there are tons of software options that allow you to use that MIDI information.  Would your children like to compose?  There is simple notation software that will allow your children to compose and print sheet music as they play it (Finale Notepad, $9.95).  That should get their and their piano teacher's attention.  Piano Wizard is an educational video game that can grab your kid's attention (think Guitar Hero, but for piano and using the real keys!).  Even more software like Music Ace would now work with your children right at the piano.

So if you are thinking about buying an acoustic piano, consider these advantages with Story & Clark.  If you already have a piano, contact your local QRS installer about upgrading your piano.


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Tags: how to buy a piano, Story & Clark, player pianos, music educators, QRS
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