|BACK||By: Lovett Goode Photos By: Mann
January 13, 2010, Anaheim, CA:
As you enter the main exhibit halls, you feel like you have just been placed on the 5 freeway with vehicle noises of car horns blaring, basses thumping, steady beats of drums from a loud sound system from the next car next to you while stuck in traffic, but you are now in musician heaven, where professional to novice musician are having hands on experiences with the newest instruments before they arrive at your music retailers showrooms.
Welcome to The NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California where music manufactures come from far and near showcasing their shiny new instruments and other music related products to music retailers.
The NAMM Show is a “trade only” convention for companies that manufacture, distribute and/or retail musical instruments/ products. In other words not open to the public, but it produces the leading edge instruments and sounds that the public will see and hear on stage and on the radio in 2010 and beyond.
The NAMM convention also helps promotes the powerful attributes that music has on our youth with the The John Lennon Bus Appears on Fox's Huckabee to Support the Wanna Play Fund and Demonstrate the Power of Music Education and The NAMM Foundation Shows Ongoing Support of Little Kids Rock at 'Right to Rock' Event.
With a broad spectrum of artists appearing as guest of the manufactures whom instruments they play ranging from rock bands like KISS and White Snake to Hip Hop DJ Jazzy Jeff , Mariachi to Heavy Metal groups and over the course of the event celebrity artists sightings have included artists that you may hear on your favorite Smooth Jazz broadcasts like Stevie Wonder, Kenny G, Steve Oliver, Paul Taylor, Mike Phillips, Marcus Miller, Paul Jackson, Jr., Slash, Bernie Williams, Euge Groove, Craig Chaquico among others were in attendance.
With literally hundreds of square foot of new products, models and styles of Guitars, Trumpets, Pianos, Drums, Flutes, Saxophones, Congo’s, Turntables, Speakers, Sound Boards and Interactive displays to choose from musicians goes from booth to booth like a kid in a candy store.
One booth that seamed to be visited longer than a lot of others was the BEAMZ display with the interactive beam of light that allows anyone of any age to instantly create music just by waving their hand across a beam of light. Ironically, while watching Conan O’Brien a week ago, he asked his guest Ringo Starr if he was any good with Beatles Guitar Hero, and as Ringo put it, the graphics was phenomenal but he was lousy at it. Well with BEAMZ, even Ringo will be good at this as shown by Smooth Jazz artists Euge Groove and former Jefferson Starship guitarist Craig Chaquico who incorporation Beamz in his show.
As one who has no musical talent, who cant carry a tune in a paper bag, with one hand swipe through the laser beam I was hooked and so where the expressions of everyone else who tried their hand at the interactive product.
Have you dreamed of playing a musical instrument and tried and you realize you were either not good at it or just didn’t have the patience to learn, but music is something that you love and embrace and you still see yourself playing an acoustic guitar well with Beamz you can, you want to play an electric guitar or the drums or keyboards with Beamz you can and feel good about. When I think back on some of the best concerts or shows, I felt like I was part of it. You felt the music and perhaps the artist had the audience participate in some way.
How Does It Work
What makes this so amazing is that background rhythm tracks of songs that you know pre-programmed so all the harmonious clips are in place and no matter how you break the beam its going to sound good so you can immediately play and sound good and even record it. Being embraced by Craig Chaquico who has 5 of his songs incorporated in Beamz as well as Euge Groove whom are fans who enjoys interactive versions of their songs.
Beamz is an innovative toy which costs about $200 and comes in a very light weight boxed carrying case. I opened the box and snapped a few pieces together, then plugged the cord into the computer USB. I loaded up the disk and followed the brief instructions. I am no computer geek, as I am barely user friendly, however a few minutes later I opened the file to some of my favorite jazz.
I looked at these two U shapes with three red beams of light in each; then I looked at the computer screen which told me what instrument each beam of light represented and really could not imagine how this was going to work for a non-musician. So I slipped my hand in ….
You hear the background rhythm track and as you break the beam of light with your hand a solo rift begins. Then you realize that you can affect the how the instrument plays by the way you work with the light. So my right hand gently tickles the guitar as my left hand strokes the bass. I just closed my eyes and was lost in the music of my dreams as my hands played the light.
With 12 different light beams for each song, you can really have fun creating various versions for each song and there are endless songs available. Even better invite a few friends over and really have some fun as their face lights up because this has no limits for age, gender, or skill. Wii, Guitar Hero, move over Beamz light is shinning bright.
Click COVER for magazine
page layout views