October 10, 2008

Corporate Bands Emerge As Executives Turn to Music for Team-Building, Stress Relief and Fun

After a long day at the office, many executives are choosing to put in extra hours with their colleagues on the live music circuit due to a burgeoning trend of top corporations encouraging their employees to make music together.

"We're seeing now more than ever a drive in the American workplace toward greater teamwork and team-building, not only in the boardroom but also in the formation of corporate bands," said Joe Lamond, President and CEO of NAMM, the international trade association for the music products industry. "These are groups of individuals who work hard together and then at the end of the day, they're picking up musical instruments to blow off steam, develop stronger relationships and have fun."

Music has often been shown to encourage the development of interpersonal communications skills, enhanced problem-solving capabilities and a greater ability to work as a team. Additionally, making music is now becoming a more heavily integrated part of the work/life balance as many companies look to bolster morale and encourage creative thinking.

"More than 82 percent of people who don't currently play an instrument wish they did," said Lamond. "That number is astounding; what we've learned with the abundance of new corporate bands emerging is that people are realizing later in life that it's never too late to pursue a passion or try something completely new. Corporate bands are bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds and talent levels, acting as a successful retention tool for companies and an added benefit for employees."

As members of the latest corporate bands prepare for retirement, there is no sign of slowing down. There has been an increase in music-making among baby boomers and according to a recent Harris Poll funded by NAMM, more than 40 percent in this category believe playing an instrument has helped reduce stress.

More than 35 percent of people claim to lack natural talent to play and that prevents them from learning. NAMM has created a program called Wanna Play? geared entirely toward changing the perception that you have to be a classically trained musician to enjoy the benefits of playing music. From age 5 to 85, people are picking up instruments to bond with friends, family and colleagues and the health benefits are music to their ears.

"Playing music with my colleagues has definitely helped to bring us together and make our band a more tight-knit unit at the office," said Sarah Greene, an executive at Boston-based Enernoc who makes music with her colleagues in the corporate band, Enerock. "We work hard all day and making music together helps us have a little fun and unwind."

NAMM's Wanna Play? Campaign

NAMM's nationwide Wanna Play? campaign is dedicated to increasing awareness of the proven benefits of playing musical instruments for people of all ages. Since the campaign's launch in November 2006, more than 24 million people have heard the message of why it is important to play music through national public relations efforts by the association. In addition, Wanna Play? has the support of 34 celebrities so far, including campaign ambassador Gavin DeGraw, Ashlee Simpson, Taylor Swift, Robert Downey Jr., John Taylor, and The Band from TV. For more information and to get involved, interested parties can visit www.wannaplaymusic.com.

About NAMM

NAMM is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion international musical instruments and products industry. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org or call 800-767-NAMM (6266).