Best Tools for Schools at NAMM 2022

Gillian Desmarais • August 2022Best Tools for Schools • August 2, 2022

SBO Magazine was proud to award a new series of music education products at this year’s 2022 NAMM show in Anaheim, California. With last year’s conference online, it was great to walk through the noisy exhibit hall again and feel a new sense of community resonating around us. We had a select team of educators this year, spanning from coast to coast. Members of this years “Best Tools for Schools” educator group included Timothy Suits, a middle school band director from California, Jennifer Shenberger, a middle and high school brass specialist from Missouri, and me, a middle school general music teacher from Massachusetts. With the extraordinary challenge of tracing 1.8 million square feet in one day, we narrowed down what we believe are the best products and investments for your classroom. Special thanks to all the companies of whom we had the pleasure of discovering. We appreciate your shared dedication to the advancement of music education.

Without further ado, here are the 2022 Best Tools for Schools!

Best Disability Inclusion Tool – Eazy Hold
Soft silicone straps for better holding, manipulating, and controlling of objects. These hypoallergenic and latex free cuffs come in many sizes. They are a great addition to have in the classroom for students with physical conditions impacting grip control. Provide students ease of use with drumsticks, maracas, mallets and so much more! 

Eazyhold Two Pack 5 1/4” Universal Cuff – $15.99

Best Innovative Teaching Tool – Keys and Kingdoms
Become a character, adventure through worlds and challenge enemies all while learning to play piano! Keys and Kingdoms engages young piano students with the magic of a role-playing game (RPG). With an emphasis on finger recognition and aural training, students engage with beginner to advanced five-finger melodies on their connected piano keyboard (or computer keyboard). As they advance, simple melodies become songs and students test their skills with exciting virtual challenges. 

Yearly Subscription – Contact for Quote

Best Percussion Tool – No Nuts Percussion
A game-changer for drum accessories, the No Nuts Cymbal Sleeves replace cymbal felt and nuts with one compression fit sleeve. Made with a rigid plastic, you can leave the sleeves in place after the gig and skip the tedious cymbal set up and break down. Other accessories include the CymRings which sit on the sleeve to allow more cymbal movement or different cymbal stacking combinations. 

No Nuts Cymbal Sleeves 3-Pack – $19.99 

Best Creative Composition Tool: Artiphon
Designed around the idea that everyone can make music, the Orba 2 is a synth looper, sampler and controller that you can hold in the palm of your hand. No computer necessary! You can loop drum, bass, chord, and lead parts. Record and layer original sounds and use nine different gestures for real-time effects. This is great for
students who love fidgets and manipulatives as well as creating music by ear. 

Artiphon Orba 2 – $149.99

Best Brass Tool: Protec
Replace your cork mutes with something longer lasting! The new Protec EVA foam is both flexible and crack resistant. Peal and stick on most makes and models of straight and cup mutes. It also sticks to wood, aluminum, carbon fiber and more! 

Mute Replacement EVA Foam, 3-Pack – $12.00 

Best Marching Band Teaching Tool: Lung Trainer
The Individual Breathing Assistant (IBA) is a lung training device proven to build better diaphragmatic breathing. In response to the pandemic, engineers have since developed a system for redirecting air back into the machine, eliminating the spread of aerosols. For a limited time, a school purchase of 100 IBA’s will include their LT Classic machine ($289 value) for free! If you want to provide for more students, a purchase of 200 IBA’s includes their MD3 machine ($549 value) for free as well. 

Individual Breathing Assistant (IBA) – $8.75

Best Woodwind Tool: Silverstein Works
As a result of a shortage in cane reed supply, makers at Silverstein were determined to create a synthetic reed as close to the beloved wood reed. Examining issues of moisture and memory foam, the newest Ambipoly reeds respond more closely to the cane original than ever before. For twenty-nine dollars, students have a guaranteed 6 months of playability, as well as a 14-day trial with three reeds to find the perfect fit. 

Ambipoly Student BH Clarinet Reed – $19.99 

Best Modern Band Tool: Jamstik
Of all the new guitar models, the Jamstik Studio MIDI Guitar took best-in-show. Designed with performers and educators in mind, the guitar’s lightweight design and incredible pitch-to-midi intelligence make it useful for the classroom, the stage, and the studio. Paired alongside the Jamstik Play Portal, teachers can display notes or chords played in real-time. The Jamstik also has its own plugin with over 200 sonically inspiring instrument sounds recordable into your favorite DAW. 

Jamstick Studio MIDI Guitar – $799.00 (not including EDU discount)

Best Music Tech Tool: Audient
Well known for their quality audio interfaces, Audient applies their design into a brand-new line of inexpensive home recording gear. The EVO bundle now features an audio interface, condenser mic, monitoring headphones, shock mount, XLR cable and free software all for $249! If you’re setting up a music tech lab or want to upgrade your own personal set-up, the EVO line is worth looking at.

EVO Start Recording Bundle – $249.00

Best Piano Lab Tool: Yamaha
Teachers interested in purchasing a few keyboards or a whole classroom set can be confident with Yamaha’s new PRS-E473. With onboard speakers, 61 touch-sensitive keys, split and layered sound modes and 820 high-definition sounds it is one of the most versatile keyboards on the market. It also has professional ¼ inch outputs (as opposed to easily breakable 3.5mm headphone jacks) and a USB port for music learning apps and music production software. 

Yamaha PSR-E473 61-Key Portable Keyboard – $369.99 




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