A few weeks ago, I returned from a trip to Nashville, where I participated in Summer NAMM as an artist at the Better Audio Booth. This is my second trip to a NAMM show, and each time I find myself returning to the teaching studio with more to offer to my students. If you’ve never attended a NAMM show, I highly recommend going.
NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchandisers. This group organizes one of the largest music trade shows in the world, called the NAMM show. There two NAMM shows per calendar year. Summer NAMM takes place in Nashville, Tennessee. Winter NAMM, which is the larger show, takes place in Anaheim, California. The Winter 2010 show had 1,373 exhibitors and 87,569 attendees.
NAMM is not open to the general public. NAMM shows are only open to members of the music trade and those who have been invited (visitor passes can be obtained for friends and families).
Most of the attendees fall into 4 categories:
1) an exhibitor (normally this is someone who manufactures or sells a product)
2) a retailer (a rep from a music store that sells new gear)
3) an artist (someone who endorses a product)
4) journalists (such as journalists from magazines that cover the NAMM show, such as Bass Player Magazine or NoTreble.com)
During this year’s summer NAMM, the show did open to the general public for the first time during the final day of the show. Summer NAMM had 12,463 registrants for the three day show.
Music educators can request passes quite easily, and are actually encouraged to do so. One of my peers teaches band at a private school. He emailed the folks at NAMM, told them his creds, and they promptly contacted him to see which NAMM show he wanted to attend. The pass was free. To get a pass, all you need to do is go to the NAMM website and fill out the email form:
So packing 12,000 to 87,000 people under one convention center roof can make NAMM a crowded, noisy three day experience. And really, NAMM is a place where folks in the music industry try to get business done. So why on earth would a music educator want to attend? There are actually many benefits to going.