Professional Development

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

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.


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Rachel & Craig FINALLY meet (long-time MTH buddies)

I was pleased to be the recipient of a NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Independent Teaching Fellowship this year.  This new award was created by NATS to better facilitate the participation by private studio teachers (who make up most of the membership, but are least likely to hold Board positions) in NATS and attendance at conferences.  The Fellowship covered the cost of the conference fees, as well as a ticket to the private show that Kelli O’Hara gave the conference attendees.  I have to say that I would not have been at the conference without the Fellowship.

Sessions that I attended and their “big ideas” were:

Full Session 1: “Male Voice Master Class,” Stephen King, presenter

The big idea: BREATH is everything, EASE of breath is even more.

Special Session: “Solo/Choral Singing: A Symbiotic Relationship.” Panel composed of: Dr. Sharon Hanson (moderator), Tim Sharp (Executive Director of ACDA), Martha Randall (Past President of NATS), Dr.Brenda Smith (author of Choral Pedagogy), Dr. Brady Allred (Director of Choral Studies at University of Utah), Scott McCoy (NATS Immediate Past President), and Allen Henderson (NATS President). [···]

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I ran across a new magazine that I wanted to share with the other teachers and working musicians here at Music Teacher’s Helper.

When I was a young musician, I used to head over to the house of a working bassist I knew and read his music magazines.  Among his literary gems was a periodical called Gig.  It was a trade magazine that focused on helping professional musicians succeed at the business of music.

As I grew older and became a working musician,  Gig magazine ceased being published.  I wondered if anyone else missed this magazine, and if there would be another periodical that would someday replace Gig.

A new periodical, called MusicPro Magazine, might just fill that void.  MusicPro magazine is available online and it is free to all subscribers.  This magazine is written by professional musicians as a resource for fellow professional musicians.  (The editor of the magazine is a music teacher and professional drummer.)   This is a resource you may want to check out and add to your reading list.  Head to:

Follow this link to subscribe:


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