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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