After a two-year break, SUNY Oneonta music industry students resumed a longstanding tradition last week, visiting and taking part in the world’s largest music products trade show, The NAMM Show, in Anaheim, Calif.
Held June 3-5 at the Anaheim Convention Center, The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show brought together leaders, innovators, experts, artists and creators across the music products, pro audio and sound, and entertainment technology industry for a rousing reunion. The annual event was not held the past two years because of COVID and was reimagined and rescheduled for June this year instead of the customary January to avoid any lingering travel restrictions.
Ten SUNY Oneonta music industry majors and Music Industry Club members traveled with Lecturer Nancy Tarr to Anaheim to take part in three days of product introductions and demonstrations, educational sessions and panel discussions, and – perhaps most importantly – networking and inspiration.
“I have been so used to meeting people virtually and reaching out via email since the pandemic started,” said Hannah Goldberg, a music industry major with a minor in audio arts production. “NAMM was a great opportunity to network and build connections. The panels were great, but I truly believe having everyone gather in person proved to be the most valuable part of this experience. I left the convention feeling inspired to keep pursuing my professional goals.”
Students enjoyed special events, live music and celebrity appearances; attended dozens of demonstrations, panel discussions and educational sessions tied to today's trends and marketing techniques; and got to preview and test new products from 3,500 brands, from Ciari Guitars’ folding guitar to the SoulPedal, a shoe insole that offers wireless control of wah, volume and MIDI parameters. Other highlight included meeting Derek Dixie, music director for global superstar Beyoncé, and getting an inside look at live sound production through broadcast streaming booth and stage tours provided by Yamaha Institutional Sales Manager Dom Cicchetti.
The Oneonta Connection
While in California, the group met up with 2007 SUNY Oneonta graduate Noah Rakoski and learned about his work as head of West Coast Label Relations for YouTube Music at Google. Thanks to Rakoski, Oneonta students got to tour Google’s impressive facility.
“That was definitely my favorite part – the Google tour and meeting Noah,” said music industry major and singer-songwriter Luke Mock. “He is an astounding and inspiring character who shared the most real and blunt advice about the music industry. I also really enjoyed going to panels and networking with other artists and music industry professionals.”
Faculty in SUNY Oneonta’s Music Department have taken students to The NAMM Show for 25 years. This was the sixth NAMM trip organized by Tarr, who said this type of experiential learning is key to a great education.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to meet and learn from people who have been in their shoes,” she said.
Tarr is executive director of Well Dunn, a music nonprofit that connects college students with internships in the music and entertainment industry. While at NAMM, she was featured in a “Turn Up Her Mic: Creating Gender Equality for Music Directors” panel discussing and empowering women working behind the scenes in the live music industry.
This trip was made possible, in part, by support from the Caroline (’67) and David D’Antonio Student Travel for Excellence Fund.