First and foremost, I would like to thank Emmett and Peggy Young for asking me to go to NAMM this summer. It was a fantastic adventure and an unforgettable experience. I learned a lot and was able to make many valuable connections.
The first night included a panel discussion that consisted of some of the most prominent and well-known business owners in the music business. Taylor, Martin, Peavey, D’addario, and others were there. It seemed so surreal to be in the same room with these big name music guys, getting to interact with them and hear the tips and advice they had to share. Their main message was that in order to have a successful business, one must define success on the principal of giving rather than taking. Concern for the environment and how the business's choices affect the local communities should be the first and foremost thoughts for a truly successful venture that impacts the world in a positive manner. There was also some emphasis on how to remain fresh in an ever-changing environment of competition.
Going to the workshops on maintaining a healthy guitar studio was a real important aspect to this trip as well. There was a workshop on how to run successful rock band camp, which was perfect since Emily and I are hoping to get one started for next year! Their main points centered around performance based education and knowing the genre really well. Helping the kids to have fun by becoming and/or performing as real rock stars was a cool influence to have gotten. Also, they gave a 3 year time line to adjust and make the camp successful. Being a young and budding music teacher, this thought of long term goals was a comforting thought.
One of the coolest aspects of the show was getting to meet the builders of the products that were on display. Many boutique amplifier makers were there, and getting to test their products was an incredible opportunity. There is really no way to ascertain what a really phenomenally made instrument sounds like without trying one first. The guys who made these amps were real salt-of-the-earth folk and were more than willing to help. There was even a maker in Orlando, which is where a TON of my family lives!!
Johnny Hiland and Bela Fleck were there as well as other well-known artists. Bela and I had a brief conversation in the lobby. He was kind and had a brand new banjo case!! He is a HUGE hero of mine. The spectrum of color that he has contributed to the world of music is astounding, and he continues to work and record with the world's best. Meeting him was my "star struck" moment of the trip. I think my enthusiasm might have surprised him a bit :) Anyway... I LOVED MEETING BELA!!!
The music scene in Nashville is unlike anything I have ever seen before. There is music going on all the time. At night, there is a band in every club, sometimes more than one on more than one floor. The Nashville sound was coming from every open door that we passed. The streets were teeming with energy and people. The abundance of neon signs made it look as though we were in a mini Vegas!! They had a great candy shop as well. Too bad I left Emily's chocolate truffles in the hotel room when I left.... $20 worth!!! I know the hotel folks really enjoyed those treats!!!
Meeting a distant cousin who has a great home recording studio was a cool adventure as well. And rooming with Tom Rule was a blast!!
I hope to get another chance to go. Everyone should go if they have the opportunity!