Celebrities Rally with Kids in Nationwide Effort to Promote Music Making as NAMM Wraps Up National Wanna Play Music Week

National Survey Shows 85 percent of Americans Wanna Play Music, as Thousands of Aspiring Musicians Flock to 'Wanna Play Music' Web site

May 11, 2009

NAMM, the 108-year-old, not-for-profit association of the international music products industry, concluded its annual National Wanna Play Music Week today, after a monumental period of music making that drew the participation of stars, such as Kevin Bacon and Yoko Ono.  With the goal to build awareness of the proven benefits of playing musical instruments for people of all ages, NAMM executed the week-long series of events to encourage the music maker in every American.

The Bacon Brothers, Yoko Ono and the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” House Band kicked off the week with “Music Monday,” a five-year tradition started by the Canadian-based Coalition for Music Education that encourages musicians, music organizations, school bands and music lovers everywhere to play music at the same time to demonstrate the galvanizing power of making music.  During NAMM's second year participating in “Music Monday,” more 2,000 schools and organizations rallied across North America to simultaneously play music together with celebrity musicians participating in the effort on both coasts.

In New York, The Bacon Brothers, featuring acclaimed actor Kevin Bacon and his brother, award-winning film and TV composer Michael Bacon, helped to launch National Wanna Play Music Week in the U.S., and appeared nationally on “Fox & Friends,” on behalf of NAMM.  On Music Monday, The Bacon Brothers performed before a crowd of students at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, promoting music in schools, along with Yoko Ono and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

“We wanted to show our support for what NAMM and others are doing to help encourage people to get out and play music,” said Kevin Bacon.  “Music is obviously a huge part of our lives.  Playing a musical instrument can help drive a passion that can last a lifetime and play an integral part in maintaining a healthy mind and body.”

In Los Angeles, late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” lent the talents of its house band, Cleto & the Cletones, toward the effort of making music.  Bandleader Cleto Escobedo III and lead guitarist Toshi Yanagi performed music with a band class at Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles.  Students were later treated to a private jam session with Cleto & the Cletones, visiting the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and hanging out with the entire band and Jimmy Kimmel himself.

“The tremendous response to National Wanna Play Music Week, the popularity of our music-making tools, and the support from so many notable music makers reinforces our belief in the power of music making,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM’s president and CEO.  “NAMM is consistently seeking out new ways to connect people with the enjoyment and proven benefits of playing music and creating simple ways for anyone to get involved.  It’s never too late to learn to play a musical instrument, whether you are five or 85.  Even beyond NAMM’s National Wanna Play Music Week, any time is a great time to give music making a try.”

Tools to Make Music Making Easy

According to the recent “2009 Public Attitudes Toward Music” Gallup survey *, 85 percent of Americans wish they could play music.  In response to that desire, NAMM created several user-friendly services and tools aimed to help anyone begin to play music. With the goal of educating consumers on the benefits of playing music and empowering them to easily find quality music instructors, NAMM also has developed a variety of tools, which were unveiled during National Wanna Play Music Week, including:

•    Music Lesson Locator – This free “Find Music Lessons Near You” search tool at www.wannaplaymusic.com, features one of the most comprehensive databases of music educators on the Web from NAMM’s network of Member stores, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and TakeLessons.com, a nationwide provider of lessons. This easy-to-use tool helps people who are interested in learning to play music to easily find a qualified music teacher in their neighborhood by simply entering their zip code or city information.

•    So You Wanna Play Music? Hotline – As an additional resource for National Wanna Play Music Week, a special hotline was established to help connect people curious about playing music with a NAMM representative to ask any questions they may have about ways to get started, how to select the best instrument, and how to overcome the most common challenges.
•    Wanna Play? Film Contest – NAMM reached out to more than 500,000 music and film enthusiasts, asking them to participate in its short film contest, highlighting the positive aspects of making music.  Working with OurStage, an online community site for filmmakers, submissions will be accepted throughout May with the short film winner receiving $5,000 cash, a MacBook Pro, various computer software for video and audio editing, and a trip to the Summer NAMM show in Nashville, Tenn. for a world premiere of his or her film.

•    Music Making Resources – The wannaplaymusic.com Web site also featured daily themes that help to educate and build awareness around making music, and highlighted important trends, tools and news in the world of music.

National Wanna Play Music Week is part of the association’s ongoing Wanna Play? public awareness campaign, which recognizes the vital role that music and music education play in people’s lives, and how recreational music making can directly impact the health and social well being of people in all stages of life.