A cacophony of sounds emanated from every corner of the Anaheim Convention Center, which could only mean that NAMM was in town. From pounding drums to strummed ukuleles and singers hitting high notes to demo sound equipment, this maddeningly delightful sensory overload takes place each year at none other than the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) four-day conference and trade show.
Thousands of musicians, instrument makers and gear-heads mixed, mingled and performed music while thousands of brands showed off their latest wares. Technology-driven music products, such as the Garritan Abbey Road CFX Concert Grand, featuring the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand piano recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios’ historic Studio One, illustrated what the future of music will look like.
Several music-related charities were also on hand, spreading the word about their important work, ranging from offering kids the chance to record their own music for free in state-of the-art facilities to teaching them about the science of sound.
The Bob Moog Foundation, which honors the legacy of electronic music pioneer Bob Moog, promoted its flagship program, Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, which teaches second grade students the physics of sound using acoustic and electronic musical instruments such as the theremin and oscilloscopes. “We’re really proud because we’re serving 55 classrooms and over thousand kids,” Foundation director Michelle Moog-Koussa told Music for Good. “The program teaches kids about the basic physics of sound. We also train second grade teachers so we’re educating two generations at a time.”
Meanwhile, staff from Little Kids Rock, a renowned non-profit that provides free music education and instruments to kids in schools in underserved areas throughout the country, met with members of the music industry to further their cause.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, which has become a regular fixture at NAMM, was parked outside the convention center offering tours to kids, musicians, and anyone interested in getting a glimpse of its state-of-the-art recording facilities. This non-profit mobile recording studio offers students the chance to write and record music with top-notch equipment and music professionals at no charge.
“We’re at NAMM to promote our idea and get musicians involved in supporting the bus,” engineer/producer said Hans Ages. “It’s a free space where kids can be completely creative. It’s a ripe environment for inspiration!”
NAMM also hosted several educational sessions for attendees, and Smokey Robinson was honored as with the Music for Life award for his five decades of enduring influence in popular music and for shaping the Motown legacy.