The Best Communities for Music Education Sought by The NAMM Foundation 

-Annual program recognizes schools and districts with exceptional music ed programs-


Release Date

Tue, 10/17/2017

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation is seeking the top school districts and schools with an exemplary commitment to music education curriculum to be recognized as part of the Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) program. Now in its 19th year, the Best Communities for Music Education (district level) and the SupportMusic Merit Award (school level) offers national recognition and visibility for school music programs, and honors the efforts of educators, administrators, students and community music education champions who share in the common goal to ensure access to music for all students in the classroom.

“A commitment to music education signifies that school and community leaders believe in the potential of all their students and are working to assure access to a well-rounded curriculum that includes music,” shared Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “The Best Communities for Music Education program affirms and applauds the dedication of districts, schools, parents and the surrounding community for providing music education as part of the school day and taught by highly-qualified teachers.”

For the past 19 years, the awards program has served as a catalyst to rally and expand music education programs, as well as to gain additional community support and funding. “The Best Communities for Music Education, won five years in a row by the Bakersfield City School District, has provided pride and enthusiasm in our community,” shared Michael Stone, coordinator of the visual and performing arts department at the Bakersfield City School District. “Since the first recognition, the District has implemented four vocal music specialist teacher positions and one additional instrumental music specialist teacher position to serve our student population. The BCME Award was definitely a shot in the arm for our Governing Board, Superintendent and the music faculty.”

Brett Farr, director of fine arts at Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD in Carrollton, Texas, a ten-time BCME winner, echoed that sentiment: “This past year our program expanded with an additional Fine Arts teaching unit, as well as a budgetary increase which will allow us to grow our programs. The BCME award gives us the acknowledgment and a foundation to continue to build support for our programs.”

“Such a designation shows that our board of education, administration and community supports the quality, sequential music education Longwood provides,” affirmed Dr. John Gallagher of Longwood Central School District in Middle Island, New York, a district which counts nine BCME awards. “It keeps Longwood's music and performing arts in the forefront of our educational system and shows that we are recognized on a national level for what we do.”

Another nine-time awardee, Michelle Hiscavich, of Newton School District in Newton Connecticut, shared that the implications of the award are widespread, and for many music students, the recognition of the quality of the program is long lasting: “This award helps us to maintain program, staffing, and funding in a climate of declining enrollment and state budget woes. The award was also instrumental in working with the Board of Education and the community to take on a major high school auditorium renovation project, where future student performances will take place. Our students continue to pursue music degrees because of the training and interests they have developed as a result of our district's music program.”

The SupportMusic Merit Award is another powerful tool for individual schools, garnering enthusiasm from students and administrators alike, as well as helping students to realize their full potential. At Smith River School, in Smith River, California, a school which has been recognized for four years with the SMMA, music educator Marshall Jones says that the award has inspired the entire student body, and has kept funding in the program: “This award has set a precedent that all students in all grades are inspiring music students, working towards the day that they can be a member of the band,” commented Jones. “Each year the topic of funding comes up and this designation gives a strong message that every penny invested in music programs comes back a hundred times over. Students are engaged, motivated, and have a growth mindset that they can and will achieve success.”

The national recognition program opens on the heels of new brain health research from Northwestern University neuroscientist Dr. Nina Kraus, which builds on previous findings that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function, discipline and language development. “We learn best when attention and memory are engaged, when we are motivated and we care about what we are learning, and when our motor systems are involved,” Kraus affirms. “This is well illustrated by the fact that playing rather than listening to music has a deep impact on reorganizing and strengthening the nervous system.”

The designations are awarded based on a school or district submitted survey process, and evaluated on funding, staffing of qualified teachers, standards, curriculum, community support, participation, facilities and other factors which affect access and demonstrate commitment to music education. The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas reviews the survey data and offers the designation to districts or schools which meet the criteria and qualifications for designation.

In 2017, over 2,000 schools and school districts submitted a survey for evaluation. Based on survey responses, 527 school districts were recognized with the Best Communities for Music Education, and 92 schools with the SupportMusic Merit Award. Past districts named a BCME included urban, suburban and rural districts. Schools which have received the SMMA designation included both public and private schools and range from elementary to middle and high schools.

District officials, music educators and school staff in the domestic United States are invited to complete this survey by January 31, 2018 by visiting

In conducting the annual survey, The NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education: Americans for the Arts; League of American Orchestras; John Lennon Educational Tour Bus; Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation; Music for All; Music Teachers National Association; National Guild For Community Arts Education; Yamaha Corporation of America; Young Audiences; and VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

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AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium - Talented Team of Presenters and Educators Finalizing Program


Release Date

Tue, 09/19/2017

The inaugural AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium: Live & Studio is a unique education and training program from the Audio Engineering Society targeted at working professionals in the live sound, recording and performance-audio communities. The four-day international symposium, which will be held concurrently with the 2018 NAMM Show from January 25-28 in Anaheim, CA, comprises a series of Training Academies and related sessions on line-array technologies, live-sound mixing consoles, wireless systems and studio environments, in addition to tutorials on system measurement and optimization, plus a selection of technical papers in related fields. These must-attend classes will be held within the Anaheim Hilton Hotel’s NAMM Education Campus, adjacent to a brand-new pro-audio exhibit space.

AES@NAMM will offer an exclusive opportunity for audio professionals to attend interactive classes taught by expert presenters,” states AES President-elect David Scheirman, a veteran sound-reinforcement industry professional. “Our instructors and trainers will offer a comprehensive range of sessions to match the constantly-evolving informational needs of career veterans and aspiring audio practitioners alike. AES@NAMM is being held at the right place - with top audio brands on display in the Convention Center - and at a time when both the TEC Awards and the Parnelli Awards are being staged together, thereby drawing an entire community of studio-production and sound-reinforcement specialists to Anaheim.”

The AES@NAMM program comprises a number of interrelated training sessions conducted by manufacturers of Line Array Loudspeaker Systems, Live Sound Consoles, Studio Digital Audio Workstations and Entertainment Wireless Technologies, in addition to Sound System Measurement & Optimization and Studio & Recording Technology.

As with all Technical Sessions at traditional Audio Engineering Society events, AES@NAMM is a fee-based symposium with limited seating secured through advance registration, open to all show attendees with a NAMM Badge. Attendees can purchase half-day or whole-day admission, with registration opening soon. Academy trainees will receive a Certificate of Attendance to confirm their participation in educational sessions.

Mark Frink, the symposium’s Director, Programming & Content states: “Our program has been carefully developed to anticipate the learning expectations of working professionals that want to bring themselves up to speed with what is happening in these critical technology areas, and learn more about how to use high-tech systems in their day-to-day activities. Everybody needs a refresher course from time to time; AES@NAMM will focus on offering no-nonsense tuition on a range of key topics.”

Renowned author and recording engineer Bobby Owsinski heads up the Studio & Recording Technology Session Series, while John Murray is coordinating the Measurement and System Optimization sessions.

The Line Array Loudspeaker System Academy will focus on the key operational features and deployment of contemporary line-source arrays, while The Live Sound Console Academy comprises day-long, hands-on sessions on control-surface orientation, with an exploration of each console’s features and use. The Studios: DAW Academy will focus on using the key components of a recording or production studio to achieve professional results with on-site live musicians, including digital audio workstations, microphones and monitor loudspeakers. The Entertainment Wireless Technology sessions will explore how to set up and use RF systems within a shrinking UHF spectrum environment. The Measurement and System Optimization sessions will spotlight current techniques for testing and fully optimizing system performance.

NAMM Education Campus

AES@NAMM’s Education Campus comprises multiple rooms on the fourth floor of the Anaheim Hilton that face the Grand Plaza. Symposium sessions will run 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Thursday, January 25 through Sunday, January 28, with the last day ending at 4:00 pm.

The program also includes AES Technical Papers and Workshops, as well as special Spanish and Mandarin daily sessions.

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Business Thought Leaders to Offer Practical ‘How to’ at Retail Boot Camp During The 2018 NAMM Show


Release Date

Mon, 09/18/2017

For NAMM members seeking a jumpstart to retail success in 2018, The NAMM Show returns with the perennial favorite: Retail Boot Camp. On Wednesday, January 24, before the Show officially opens, retail business owners, managers, sales personnel, marketers and accountants can rev up their retail and financial know-how through two tracks: Sales, Marketing and Website; or Financial Management. Each track is designed to impart practical, easy-to-implement ideas and business strategies designed to impact the bottom line. Presenters include New York Times best-selling author and customer service expert Shep Hyken; digital marketing pioneer Larry Bailin; and financial experts Alan Friedman and Daniel Jobe of Friedman, Kannenberg & Co.

Retail Boot Camp will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24 and include a NAMM-sponsored lunch. NAMM members interested in attending Retail Boot Camp are required to RSVP, as seating is limited. RSVP now here:

Additional Retail Boot Camp details will be provided upon registration.

Sales, Marketing and Website Track

Create an Amazing Customer Experience—Right Away

Point blank, customer service sets you apart from other music retail businesses. It’s one thing to get a customer in the door or onto your website, but it’s another to get them coming back again and again. Not to mention your customers are expecting more from you than ever before, with other world-class retailers setting a high bar. Join Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, New York Times best-selling author and award-winning speaker, for a fast-paced, entertaining and information-packed Retail Boot Camp training session. He’ll share what you and your team can do right away to deliver an experience that will amaze your customers every time.

Online Marketing That Gets Results

In the first part of a two-part presentation, Larry Bailin will offer a masterclass in online marketing for 2018, and beyond. He won’t cover everything that can be known—just everything you need to know to achieve success. Bailin, an internet marketing pioneer, will reveal the platforms that matter most, the media to buy, what to say, what to do and how to turn buyers into lifelong customers. He’ll also look at what technologies are on the rise and why. Websites, mobile, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat—find out what efforts bring you the most loyal customers, and how to make the most of the ones that matter.

Make Your Website Work for You

Your website can be your greatest asset or your worst nightmare. Does your website persuade or dissuade potential and existing customers? Here, Larry Bailin will take you on a live and unscripted journey of what works with retail websites and what sends you down the digital rabbit hole. He’ll call up real-world industry examples to show you what to do and, even more importantly, what not to do when trying to attract and sell to buyers online. Whether you sell products or services (e.g., lessons or repairs), you’ll discover how to avoid obstacles that get in the way of connection and commerce.

Financial Management Track

Celebrating its fourth year at Retail Boot Camp, the financial management track gets a big update for 2018. This year, NAMM members will get training on the two most critical hot topics facing every music retail business today: the always-challenging purchasing and management of inventory and the transition of a music store. This Retail Boot Camp “best-of experience” will be presented by longstanding financial experts Alan Friedman and Daniel Jobe of Friedman, Kannenberg & Co. And they’ll deliver vital financial education using their always-entertaining “Tommy Gunn Music Store” saga.

Inventory Management: Morning Program

The morning’s training will focus on proven best practices in the purchasing and management of music retail inventory. Discover how to buy the right mix and quantity of musical products and gear.

Business Succession: Afternoon Program

The afternoon training will feature a deep dive into business succession, presented for the first time. It will cover: the pros and cons of various store transition options; the effect each option has on cash, control and taxes; what does and doesn’t add value to your store; calculating the dollar amount of what your business is likely worth; vital tips for starting the succession-planning process; and five case studies

The 2018 NAMM Show returns to Anaheim, California, January 25-28, 2018. As the crossroads of the music, pro sound and event tech industry, The 2018 NAMM Show will offer nearly 7,000 brands on display, over 500 educational sessions, a variety of networking opportunities and a multitude of events each night of the show. NAMM members can secure their badges today by visiting

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NAMM Board Elects New Executive Committee Members

The NAMM Board of Directors unanimously voted in the next slate of officers on Saturday at Summer NAMM in Nashville. At the meeting, the board officially welcomed each industry leader to new roles, representing a balanced composition of retail and commercial members. The 2017 Executive Committee includes Chair Robin Walenta, Vice-Chair Chris Martin IV, Treasurer Joel Menchy and Secretary Tom Sumner.

The vote and seamless transition sees Robin Walenta, previously NAMM’s Vice Chair, move into the new role as Chair of NAMM’s Board of Directors. Walenta is President and CEO of West Music Co., a family-owned, seven-store, full-line retailer based in Coralville, Iowa founded in 1914 by Pearl West. Walenta joined West Music in 1982 and was named President and CEO of the company in 2007. In addition to the NAMM Board of Directors, Walenta is currently a board member of the National Association of School Music Dealers; a treasurer for the Iowa Alliance for Art Education; a member of the SupportMusic Coalition and offers a wealth of industry, advocacy and arts experience to the committee. Walenta is the first female chair in the history of the organization.

“I am truly honored to represent our membership as Chair and to serve our industry. As both a commercial and retail member, I look forward to sharing my perspective to address the challenges that we face today and to prepare our industry for the opportunities of the future,” said Walenta. “Through my career-long involvement with NAMM, I have learned that networking builds beneficial and productive communities; that educational opportunities provide vital catalysts for new and ongoing musical ventures; and that in today’s world, music advocacy is more important than ever. I am excited to be at the forefront of continuing diversification and broadening inclusivity in both our members and the products and services we represent.”

As part of her first official duties, Walenta welcomed Tom Sumner to the Executive Committee as Secretary. Sumner is past member of the Board of Directors and currently Senior Vice President of Yamaha Corporation of America, a full-line manufacturer of musical products and instruments based in Buena Park, California. Sumner joined the company in 1987, and is a member of the National Piano Foundation; the National Association of School Music Dealers; the Music Distributors Association; and the SupportMusic Coalition.

Of the appointment, Walenta affirmed the board’s enthusiam: “We are excited to welcome Tom to the NAMM Executive Committee. Through his leadership role at Yamaha, Tom brings to the board important skills and knowledge that will support and augment the broad spectrum of the music industry. As a recent NAMM Board member, Tom offers valuable insights into NAMM’s mission and objectives.”

Sumner echoed the sentiments, “It’s truly an honor to be elected to the NAMM Executive Committee, and I look forward to continuing to grow and serve the industry.”

Outgoing Chair Mark Goff was honored during the meeting and applauded for his eight-years of service on the Executive Committee. Reflecting, Goff offered, “It has been an incredible honor to represent my fellow NAMM members as Chair over the past two years. During my tenure, I have been privileged to see our association at work across the globe and I’m extremely proud of the positive impact we are making as we help more people make more music every day.”

Further building upon the stability of the organization, Executive Committee members Joel Menchey and Chris Martin will transition to their new roles. Menchey is is the President and owner of Menchey Music Service, a seven-location school service and keyboard music dealer headquartered in Hanover, Pennsylvania and will serve as Secretary of the Executive Committee. Chris Martin is the sixth generation owner and CEO of C.F. Martin & Co., Inc., a manufacturer of acoustic guitars and strings, based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and now, Vice Chair of the NAMM Executive Committee.

In other NAMM board-related news, the NAMM Young Professionals welcomed Mark Despostakis of Pennsylvania-based Progressive Music as President. Despotakis succeeds Ryan West of West Music Co.

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Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia Returns in September

New in 2017: visitor program offers professional tours for sound engineers, lighting artists, event organizers and technical specialists.


There are only three months to go before Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia opens its doors, and with it, a wealth of opportunity for lighting and sound professionals. Now in its sixth year, the show serves as the main industry event and the biggest international show in Russia and the CIS countries for entertainment technology.  The show takes place September 14-16, 2017 in ECC Sokolniki in Moscow, Russia and will be located in Pavilion 4 (general exposition of the fair), Pavilion 4.1 (visitor registration and Forum Event LIVE), Pavilion 4.2 (Theatre Forum) and on the Festival Square (Concert Sound Demonstration).

Globally renowned brands from Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia Turkey, UK and the U.S. have already confirmed their participation. Besides long-standing participants such as MixArt Distribution, OKNO-Audio, Asia Music, SiM Group, ChainMaster, LTM, Robe Lighting and others, companies like Best Vision Projection Screens (Turkey), Klotz AIS (Germany), and Svetopult (Russia) will exhibit at Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia for the first time.

Returning companies include POP-Music and Yarovit. Alexander Romanovskiy, the CEO of Yarovit, speaks about the importance of participation as an exhibitor: “First of all, exhibitions should be a tool which helps to increase sales. Of course, brand recognition, presentation of new products, etc. are very important, but the final value of any event is sales.”

Being in a competitive market, companies understand the importance of direct contact with visitors and care about their presence at the show. Therefore, they carefully choose the products for display: “We will show new pro audio products – digital mixing consoles and radio systems, compact and very powerful sound reinforcement kits, studio microphones, electronic drum sets and many accessories that make life easier. On top of this, we have some surprises in store and will invite visitors to join our prize draw,” says Viktor Melentyev, CEO of POP-Music.

In addition to the extensive range of products, Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia 2017 will also present a diverse business and educational program, covering key issues in the field of stage and studio equipment, installations, technologies and services for entertainment. For the first time this year, the organizers will present professional technical tours for visitors. Developed in coordination with specialized organizations and with the support of leading experts, the tours will give a full picture of the exhibition’s technologies and systems.

Tours will be offered in the following categories:

Sound engineers (with the support of the school for sound engineers Mixing School)

Lighting artists (supported by School of Lighting Design LiDS)

Event-companies and event organizers (supported by MAX / MAX Production)

Heads and technical specialists of theatres (as part of the Theatre Forum program)

In 2017, the Theatre Forum will focus on the principles and mechanisms of construction, reconstruction and re-equipment of cultural institutions. The Theatre Forum program features:

Reports from the leading Russian theatres and contractors who perform work on the technical re-equipment of cultural institutions

Presentations of new products and the latest solutions in the field of professional equipment for theatres

Technical tours to Moscow theatres

Business meetings with manufacturers of equipment, design bureaus, and contractors for stage technology

Sponsored business trips are a brand new offer of Theatre Forum. Heads of theatres, cultural institutions, managers and specialists of technical services, artistic and production directors will be able to meet at the negotiating table with equipment suppliers, contractors and project organizations. The show organizers will provide a limited number of grants for hotel accommodations to theaters which are planning to engage in construction and/or renovation projects. For more information, contact the coordinator of Theatre Forum Mrs. Marina Novobrantseva - Tel +7 (921) 988 11 53,

Moreover, on all days of the exhibition, visitors can attend dealer conferences and experience an extensive educational program for sound designers including master-classes, seminars and concert sound demonstrations.

Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia is and has been supported by professional associations and governmental institutions for six years. MF Group, Euroshow and First Line are the main technical partners of the exhibition.

The show will be held in parallel with NAMM Musikmesse Russia, the international fair for musical instruments, sheet music, music production and music business connections.

To register to attend Prolight + Sound NAMM Russia, please visit

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