The Good Fight: Summer NAMM, Music Making, Politics, and Hammocks

Mike Lawson • Commentary • August 15, 2016

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I hope you are reading this in the throes of summertime renewal. Summer NAMM in Nashville wrapped on June 25th, and it was once again a great gathering of professionals in the music products industry. Attendees at Summer NAMM express that they value both the pace and scale of a show that allows them to spend more time with each other, to engage in product demos, to review business models, and make time for professional development. A slightly slower pace seems to be one of the essential elements of renewal.

Just prior to the opening of Summer NAMM was Make Music Day on June 21st. Although this global day of making music certainly had sublime moments, its intent is to ramp up interest, enthusiasm and a passionate frenzy for people of all ages and abilities to make music. This year, more NAMM members were leading or involved in regional and local Make Music Day activities than ever before. More than 150 NAMM member companies participated in 3,000 Make Music Day events in 38 cities across the country! To all the folks that have contributed to gathering people together and galvanizing the power of music through Make Music Day event – THANK YOU! Special thanks to Aaron Friedman, executive director of the Make Music Alliance, an organization that unites community leaders around the country to plan and implement Make Music Day events. I hope Aaron and the high energy folks that have organized hundreds of events in communities around the country have found some hammocks in the shade to rest and dream of all the possibilities for the next Make Music Day on June 21, 2017.

After a brief respite, NAMM is heading into the summer political conventions to advocate our position that music and arts are vital to the enrichment of our communities and to the education of all children. NAMM and Americans for the Arts will be presenting public policy events at both political conventions. We will host performances and panel discussions at the Republication National Convention on July 20th at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH and at the Democratic National Convention on July 26th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. NAMM’s participation at both conventions is part of its overall advocacy efforts, and at the Conventions, we will make a strong, nonpartisan case that music and arts are not optional, but essential to a well-rounded education. Whatever your political leanings, I think we can all agree that this has been a stunning political season! NAMM’s efforts at both Conventions – to assure that our call for music and arts to be included as part of the school day and available to ALL children – is heard loud and clear by current and potential political leaders!

Mary Luehrsen

[Cue – Mind-clearing exhale!] With hopes that this finds you reading this article at or near a hammock or from some other restful place, I urge you to reflect on the joys and happiness of a life in music – and to dream of ways to embrace and engage more people to know and love the benefits of making music.

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