NAMM Members Get Behind Make Music Day


Banding together the music industry placed the power of making music into the hands of people worldwide on Make Music Day, June 21. Gathering in communities across the country, musicians of every stripe rang in the summer solstice playing music together outdoors. Helmed by the NAMM Foundation’s Mass Appeal effort, NAMM member companies encouraged musicians and non-musicians to pick up instruments and play.

"Make Music Day embodies NAMM's vision and mission — strengthening the industry by giving people the opportunity to just play," said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. "NAMM members play an instrumental role in growing Make Music Day to a nationwide event, by opening their doors, inspiring new players and bringing music to their communities. June 21 is now firmly established in the United States, offering people of every ability the chance to get out there and start playing music."

NAMM member manufacturers, distributors, and publishers rallied musicians of all abilities to make music in large, single-instrument jam sessions through the NAMM Foundation’s Mass Appeal. Alfred Music, Casio America, Guitar World, Hal Leonard Corporation, Hohner, Kala Brand Music Company, C.F. Martin & Co., Making Music Magazine, Remo, Yamaha, D’Addario and Zildjian contributed to the global celebration.

“We love the fact that the Make Music event focuses people on having fun with music and instruments like the harmonica,” said Scott Emmerman for Hohner Inc., which donated more than 1,000 instruments to Mass Appeal events.

Major U.S. cities got in on the musical act. More than 1,300 free musical events filled the streets of New York City, including a mass guitar jam, a Billy Joel-themed roving keyboard karaoke truck, and a 100 saxophone celebration of Adolphe Sax’ 200th birthday. ‘Rhythm on Rikers,’ returned, with legendary drummers Carmine and Vinny Appice performing alongside Rikers Island inmates. Chicago, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Madison and 20 other cities played host to group lessons, musical flash mobs, workshops, and play-alongs, encouraged by the day’s inclusive tone. Los Angeles’ Griffith Park filled with the sounds of GRAMMY winner Daniel Ho leading ukulele players.

“We love the fact that the Make Music event focuses people on having fun with music and instruments like the harmonica,”
Scott Emmerman, Hohner Inc.

“We believe in the awesome potential to get non-musicians involved in playing music,” said Rick Carlson of Kala Brand Music Company, which contributed ukuleles to many Make Music Day events. “Creating a single positive musical experience benefits the entire industry.”

Make Music Day is an opportunity for retailers to connect with their local musical communities. Michigan’s Elderly Instruments enlisted the help of area ukulele groups and an old-time string band to lead the store’s Make Music Day jam sessions. “We are well known locally for our friendly, informal atmosphere where musicians are free to just play together,” said Elderly’s Ray Aleshire. “We hope that Make Music Day helps to reinforce that, and would like to see it become an anticipated annual event for our old and new friends.”

Retailers banded together to form a daylong, coast-to-coast jam session. “We held ukulele jams and drum circles within the main floor of our store that were impossible to miss,” said Ben Ash of Sam Ash Music Corp. One of the world’s foremost ukulele players, James Hill, joined in the retailer’s celebration, convincing more people to pick up a uke for the first time.

At the heart of the coast-to-coast celebration was the opportunity to welcome new musicians to the fold. "No pressure, no requirements, no age limits, no prerequisites. Just an exuberant, joy-filled experience, learning to make music," said Kevin Cranley, president of Willis Music, which offered free lessons, live performances and ‘Frozen’ sing-alongs in their six stores. “Make Music Day is your chance to put your excuses and fears aside and start living your dream.” 

This year’s Make Music Day celebration boasted tens of thousands of events. Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in 800 cities across 110 countries found at

Article originally published by MMR.

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