On January 24, 2013 (my birthday!), eight Audio Production students and I took off for Anaheim, California to attend the annual National Association of Music Merchandising conference at the Anaheim Convention Center. Each year, over 100,000 musicians, vendors, manufacturers, recording engineers, and music businesspeople attend the conference to see what’s new and upcoming in the music world. Students from our Audio program were invited to attend as a part of the newly created Generation Next program that hosted special events specifically designed for students interested in working in the music industry.
Our first day started off with a heavy dose of inspiration from Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, who is both a motivational speaker, university professor, and VP of Education for Conn-Selmer, a musical instrument manufacturer. Following his very interactive presentation, we participated in a panel discussion with a group of successful music company figures including Chuck Surack, president of Sweetwater Sound, and key figures from Line 6 and Avid. They answered questions about the life decisions they made in order to become successful, what kind of attitude it takes to make it in the music industry, and where the future is headed. The discussion came down to two main ideas: Music is at the heart of everything they do, and attitude is key. Although I had heard many of these sentiments before, it proved to be very inspirational in such a high-energy setting.
We spent much of the remainder of the day browsing the massive showroom floor. The other moment of excitement for my day came when I visited the booth for Dave Smith Instruments, and ran in to Dave Smith himself, co-inventor of MIDI! It was only fitting that NAMM was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the MIDI protocol. I was also excited to meet up with a college friend of mine, Ryan Romenesko, who was there working for Zakk Wylde as part of his job with Jensen Communications. There’s much more to come on day two!