Last month, the department of music took several students on a field trip to Anaheim for the 2019 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention. Asher Raboy, professor of music, vocalist, and PUC’s resident artist, organized the trip for two reasons. First, he wanted his students to gain insights into the kinds of employment opportunities that exist for music majors.
“There are a lot of jobs in music,” he says, “but the traditional jobs—classroom teaching and performance—are getting rarer. It’s important that our students experience the wealth of modern opportunities so they can make wise choices about their futures.”
Secondly, Raboy wanted his students to be energized by meeting successful professionals who are creative, energetic, and entrepreneurial by nature.
“At worst, our students can find a new and powerful purpose to their major,” he says. “At best, they start to network and make connections that last a lifetime.”
Though the event lasted six days, to avoid missing too many classes PUC’s students attended only for the weekend. During this time, they were able to attend concerts, talk with music professionals, listen to presentations, meet performers, and explore a plethora of products related to the music industry. NAMM exhibitors and presenters filled the entire Anaheim convention center space, as well as presentation/exhibition space in three adjacent hotels.
“There were so many people and a lot of amazing energy there,” recalls Rachelle Davis, department chair, violinist, and NAMM attendee. “I was hoping to give our students a feel for all the amazing careers outside of performing and teaching that are associated with music, and it was very eye-opening.”
In addition to hundreds of the world’s best musicians, NAMM attendees are also surrounded by the best companies in the industry, as well as the best journalists covering the industry. All of these are important connections to make when entering the field of music as a professional.
Raboy says the students each had unique interests at the event. Some simply found the plethora of creativity inspiring and engaging, soaking up as much of the event as they could, while others found the areas featuring their specific musical interest and/or instruments and stuck to them.
Davis found the event’s presentations to be most beneficial to her professional growth, such as the Friday morning session with Daniel Burrus, author and innovation expert.
“Burrus made the point that our biggest problem is usually not the real problem,” she explains. “In life and business we’re are often presented with seemingly insurmountable problems that don’t seem to have workarounds. Knowing our perceived problem is not the actual problem is brilliant. Digging deeper will show us the root of the problem or the actual problem, and there is a solution to that one. As department chair, that is a very useful tool to have the in administrative toolkit.”
Overall, NAMM is a beneficial event for both professors and students, though Raboy’s main purpose in organizing the trip was to inspire the students. He hopes they take away some enhanced confidence in the rich future ahead of them in the music industry.
“The world of music has changed radically in the last 20 years,” he says. “Our students need to plunge into this changing world, learn to navigate it, and live in it, or choose a different career path. Either way, NAMM provides knowledge our students need to have.”