This past week, I attended NAMM. NAMM is the acronym for National Association Of Music Merchandisers, and also the name of their annual trade show.
NAMM is held in Anaheim, California, the third week of January. Of all of the trade shows I attend, it is by far the most interesting. It is a collection of new age musicians, aging rock stars, manufacturers, sales people, and music educators. People in three piece suits can be seen talking to people with purple hair and orange colored leather pants. It is an eclectic mix of attendees, for sure. The halls are filled with every musical instrument ever invented, live sound and staging equipment, and recording equipment. I am seeing video production products start to make their way to the show floor. My company, Marshall Electronics, showed our video switcher and mini POV broadcast cameras. I spoke to many school tech managers during the week. They showed real interest in the video production equipment, to add to their departments for both recording and live streaming.
NAMM is the best place to see the merging of music and technology. Music teachers are no longer just musicians. They are experts in technology. Recording software and related products are now so ingrained into the recording arts, they are inseparable. The next natural step is to add video. The natural use for video is for YouTube videos. But more and more, the word Streaming is entering the conversation. Everyone wants to know how to stream video content. There are so many uses for it.
Music programs in school are in constant need of funding. Using video to promote the school music program serves many purposes. It merges the music program with the media program. It gives the media students subjects to create content with, and hone their production skills. It gives the music program with much needed video content to promote their program. It can even tie in the business classes, in learning how to use video on YouTube and live streaming to create marketing materials which brings dollars to the programs.
I would call it the perfect storm of collaboration between departments. And these are departments which never had an occasion to work together. Now, everyone is working together for a common goal, all learning new skills for tomorrow’s musicians, media producers, and business people. Our world is changing quickly, and in a profound way. Merging the music, media, and business program into one cohesive unit will give the students real world experience they can take out into the world and make a living with. And, all the while, serve a much needed purpose in the here-and-now.
I know I have written this before, but I continue to talk to educators all of the time, and encourage them to leave their comfort zone, and reach out to the other departments to come up with creative ways to bring new ideas to the students, and serve the needs of the school. It will keep the students engaged, and teach them something they can never learn from a textbook. The best lessons in life are real world, hands-on experiences.
If the readers have a chance to attend NAMM, I highly encourage it. They have two shows yearly. Winter NAMM in January in Southern California, and in July in Nashville, TN. There are all sorts of special programs for educators. It has been aimed primarily towards the music teacher, but with the merging of technology into the music industry, media and technology instructors will also find something there for them. And, you don’t even have to get dressed up. In terms of attire, anything goes. After all, it is first and foremost a show for musicians. You may even want to pick up a paisley leather suit. It would fit right in.
Perry Goldstein is a veteran of the electronics industry, with both consumer and Pro A/V electronics experience. He is also a professional speaker, and writer for the electronics industry. He has won numerous awards for product design. Perry is currently the Director of New Digital Technologies for Marshall Electronics and MXL pro audio division, as well as an instructor of digital marketing at the higher education level.