NAMM Concludes First Music and Sound Expo in Minneapolis

April 22, 2004

NAMM, the International Music Products Association, faced the music when its experiment to bring together music educators, the music products industry and families and music makers of all ages from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to the Music and Sound Expo ended with mixed results. At show close, NAMM had issued badges to approximately 1,200 public attendees.

The show, which was held April 16–18, was primarily designed to serve the needs of thousands of music educators from across the country and around the world who converged on Minneapolis for the National Biennial Conference of MENC, the National Association for Music Education. NAMM used its passion and skill for producing excellent trade shows along with its market development and advocacy expertise to benefit the association’s partners in music education, many of whom said the exhibition was the best they had ever attended. During the show, music educators marveled at more than 250 exhibits, interactive feature areas and special Expo-only sessions about the proven benefits of making music. Attendees also enjoyed a star-studded concert to benefit music education featuring GRAMMY-winning artist Michael McDonald and friends. At the conclusion of the conference, MENC reported strong attendance with 3,732 registrants, an 8 percent increase over its 2002 National Conference.

Among the show’s successes was the implementation of the first International Music Education Policy Symposium, which was led by music education experts from around the world. The group explored such topics as “Rationales for Music Education” and “Access, Delivery and Funding Issues For Music Education.” Panelists representing varying international perspectives presented policies and options and educator attendees learned about how music education is viewed around the world.

“NAMM felt that our industry’s relationship with music educators was so important that it warranted a new and bold approach,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. “While we met the majority of our objectives with the educators, consumer attendance was unsuccessful and a disappointment to us and our exhibitors.” Lamond continued, “In this era of rapid change, NAMM is charged with trying new ideas, new programs and new avenues to fulfill our mission. NAMM will learn from this experience, make adjustments and continue our quest to build a strong bridge between the music products industry, our partners in the music education world and the music-making public.”

On the last day of the show, NAMM expressed its appreciation to exhibitors by hosting a reception where show management could sit down with individuals from manufacturers and retailers, music schools and service providers to brainstorm, answer questions and receive feedback for improving future events.

“The Music and Sound Expo has possibilities for success in the future, but there needs to be some tweaking of the event itself,” said Gene Kornblum, president/CEO, St. Louis Music. “I am in favor of trying it again once the appropriate changes have been made.”