NAMM On Board with the USA WEEKEND/John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Teens to Encourage Young Musicians

January 16, 2003

A new and exciting element to enhance NAMM’s upcoming Music Edge teen initiative is its partnership with the USA WEEKEND/John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Teens. Today at 5 p.m., there will be a press reception to announce and kick off the second annual Teen Contest at the 2003 NAMM Show at the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus in Hall E of the Anaheim Convention Center. Vanessa Carlton, one of this year’s Teen Songwriting Contest celebrity judges, will be a special guest. Other surprises are anticipated.

In addition to Vanessa Carlton, Justin Timberlake is on this year’s celebrity judge list to pick the best teen lyricists from the tens of thousands of entries from across the country. The rest of the judges will be announced shortly. Last year’s judges were Mary J. Blige, Nick Lachey, Amy Grant, and Wyclef Jean, who put Torrance, Calif., winner Leora Posner’s lyrics to music.

This year’s winners will receive U.S. Savings Bonds courtesy of Maxell Corporation, Yamaha gear, and their respective schools will get cash prizes courtesy of, a new Web site launching in 2003 that is being created by NAMM specifically for teens to get them involved in making music. The winners will be announced in the Memorial Day issue of USA WEEKEND Magazine, in which the Grand Prize winner’s photo and lyrics will be seen by its 48 million readers.

The second USA WEEKEND/John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Teens began to accept entries from young people across the country on January 5, 2003. Applications can be obtained by logging on to, or in specific issues of USA WEEKEND Magazine.

The annual teen contest was designed to encourage middle and high school students to express themselves by writing song lyrics. This year, because of NAMM’s relationship with the contest, the scope of the coverage has expanded to include information about how important music education is as an outlet for teens, and to draw attention to the fact that fewer and fewer teens have access to making music. NAMM’s nonprofit affiliate, the American Music Conference, will be featured in the full-page article in the January 12 edition of USA WEEKEND Magazine that announces this year’s contest. The article will highlight the importance of music education and recent studies linking music making to higher academic performance in teens.

To further support and create awareness for the contest, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a nonprofit offshoot of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, will set out on a 19-city USA WEEKEND/John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Teens tour, sponsored in part by The tour kicked off in San Francisco on January 9, and ends in Fort Lauderdale on February 14, traversing the country during those five weeks.

The state-of-the-art mobile recording studio will stop at a school in each market determined by a promotion in a local newspaper. Students will have an opportunity to tour the unique Bus, and a selected group of teens will participate in an all-day workshop, write a song, record, produce and videotape its production, and go home with a Maxell CD-R of the final edit. It is an extraordinary experience that kids in 48 states have enjoyed over the past four years, since the Bus hit the road. Each year, the Bus visits more than 150 schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, concert tour dates and conferences.

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.