March 17, 2010
-- As school music programs are cut back, major music retailers such as Guitar Center drastically reduce their stock orders, and music industry giants like Fender struggle for survival, entrepreneurs in the music education business need a diversified position in the marketplace to stay afloat. “This is an advantage we have over our competition,”
says David Smolover, founder of The National Music Workshop, now in its 26th year. “Music companies that are too specialized have been taking a huge hit in 2009,” Smolover continued, “and our approach to music education has always been diversified.”
A self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur,”
Smolover and his partner, Nathaniel Gunod, approach music education from three different directions. The National Guitar Workshop (NGW), founded in 1983, is a residential program at five locations around the U.S. for serious music hobbyists and aspiring professionals from age 14 to 100. Offering a full immersion summer program with instruction in guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, voice and songwriting, NGW treats every style of music with equal seriousness. “We’ve always believed that every musician needs high-quality instruction, whether they’re playing rock, blues, jazz or classical music,” says Gunod, “and that has given us a unique position in the marketplace.”
National Guitar Workshop Publications, which is distributed internationally by Alfred Publishing--the world’s largest music education publisher--has produced 400 books, DVDs and CDs since 1988 for music students of all levels, genre’s and instruments. Finally, DayJams, founded in 1999, is a music day camp for kids 8 to 15, which enables kids at over 20 locations around the US to experience National Guitar Workshop-style instruction in their own neighborhoods.
“Everyone, in every sector of the music business--from major record labels and manufacturers down to ‘mom ‘n’ pop’ music stores and independent music teachers--has felt the crunch over the last couple of years,” says Smolover, “and the worst thing about it is the impact it’s having on our childrens’ overall education and development.”
In recent years, many studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between music education, brain development, academic achievement and success later in life. “The reduced access to good music instruction, and people’s ability to afford it, is a real shame,” says Gunod, “and we believe The National Music Workshop’s uniquely diversified position in the marketplace will enable us to weather the storm and still be here when the situation improves.”
While the National Guitar Workshop immerses teenage and adult musicians in intense training in a wide variety of styles at all levels, beginning to advanced, DayJams fosters creativity in younger children with an eye toward whole child development, stressing self-esteem, collaborative skills and confidence. “DayJams is amazing program,” says one DayJams parent, “The experience went farther to encourage his love of music than anything he’s done in school or lessons on other instruments.”
Both programs, National Guitar Workshop and DayJams, use curricula published by National Guitar Workshop Publications as texts for their classes. “We believe the enthusiasm of our customers and our uniquely egalitarian approach to music education across all the musical styles, for students of all levels, will enable us to keep the music going long after these tough economic times have passed.”
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About National Guitar Workshop: The National Guitar Summer Workshop is more than a guitar camp or music camp. A premier week long residential music education program, we have been instructing musicians of all ages for over 25 years. Our faculty offers music instruction, whether you play guitar, drums, bass, keyboards or sing. Our program is perfect for the beginner or the advanced professional.