March 2013

2013 NAMM report

NAMM’s Top 8 in 2013, as selected by In Tune’s 2013 SchoolJam Teen Field Reporter, Michelle McGhee

Each year, the winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California brings people together from around the globe for 4 days of music, business, and fun. I had the awesome opportunity to accompany InTune editor Emile Menasche on the show floor, where hundreds of dealers show off their latest gear.

Of course, the NAMM show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the entire world, so I didn’t get to see everything. But, here are the top 8 standout moments from my experience:

8. Musical Performances
You can’t go anywhere at the NAMM show without hearing great music. When I first walked in to the convention center to get my entrance badge, I was met with the sounds of about a dozen jazz ensembles. Almost every booth had a performer demonstrating the newest guitars, keyboards, or microphones. Right outside the convention center stadium, there was a large stage set up where people performed throughout the day. On Friday afternoon, as I was passing the stage, I heard a super high-pitched, perky voice coming through the speakers. “Hi, I’m Anna Graceman,” she said excitedly. “I’m 13 years old and I’m REALLY excited to be here at NAMM! It’s my first time! I’m gonna sing some original songs for you guys! Ok here we go!” Now, upon hearing this I was completely convinced that she was going to start singing something about ponies and rainbows. But when this girl opened her mouth, my jaw literally dropped. Her mature and powerful voice was unbelievable, and blew everyone away.

7. Sennheiser>
At the Sennheiser USA booth, we saw countless top of the line studio and performance microphones. One of their newest releases, the Evolution 800, was created through a partnership with TC Helicon, a Danish pro audio company. It features a user-friendly controller on the microphone, giving the vocalist much more control over their sound.

6. Of course, the stars!
The NAMM show is known for bringing in big names. One of the biggest stars who attended was Elton John, who played an exclusive concert on Saturday night. But there were tons of other celebrities just walking around the show floor or playing at booths. To name a few: Bernie Worrell, Joe Sample, and Stevie Wonder!

5. Moog
The Moog booth was particularly interesting because of the way it demonstrated the impact that Moog synthesizers have had on popular music. Of course they displayed all of the cool new synths, but on one side of the booth they mounted a huge synthesizer that was similar to one that would be used during Bob Moog’s time. It was great to see demonstrations on both the old and the new synths to really get a feel for how much analog synths have advanced over time.

4. International-ness
One thing that really struck me as I walked around was all of the different countries that were represented. The NAMM show brings in people from nearly 100 countries, all united by their passion for music.

3. Yamaha
Everybody loves Yamaha. Known for making high quality instruments, equipment, and even snowmobiles, they never fail to impress. When I walked into their setup at NAMM, I was pretty sure I was in heaven. Over the course of about an hour and a half, I played their latest drum sets, guitars, pianos, and keyboards, each one even more awesome than the last.

2. SchoolJam
On Saturday night, I got the opportunity to attend the SchoolJam USA finals (essentially a battle of the bands) in Downtown Disney. The finals featured eight of the nations top teen bands competing for the prize of $1,000 for their band, $5,000 for their school music program, and a trip to Frankfurt, Germany. I got to interview the bands after their performances, and they were all incredibly friendly, talented, and professional.

1. The NAMM spirit
The NAMM show is an incredibly unique place. I mean, where else can you find so many cool people who all love their jobs and share a true love of music? It was an honor to walk amongst so many talented and passionate people, and I hope to be able to do it again some day.