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If the idea that learning "Stairway to Heaven" can help you balance you checkbook makes you skeptical - you're not alone. When a researcher at a conference for the New York Academy of Sciences brought up the link between learning music and doing better in math, they laughed. 

The trade organization NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) serves the music products industry and has 7,700 members worldwide. The non-profit organization represents every aspect of musical instrument manufacturing and retailing. Its outreach efforts include funding research to explore the relationship between music making and the brain and programs like Sesame Street Music Works that focuses on young children and music making. According to President and CEO Joe Lamond, music can "help with brain function and make you healthier." The organization's latest efforts are designed to bring the positive effects of making music not only to babies, but baby boomers. 

For adults who put down their instruments when they started careers and families or for those who have always dreamed of tickling the ivories for dinner guests but think they're "too old" to learn, NAMM's Weekend Warrior Program allows them to be a "star" for a day. The brainchild of Joe Lamond, Weekend Warriors puts aspiring adult performers together with a coach, a place to practice and a four or five week deadline for their first public performance! 

The slogan, "Been a Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled!" reflects the attitude of fun that is making this amateur hour such a widespread success. As one enthusiastic performer explained: "My guitar was sitting in the closet for 15 years. Weekend Warriors got me motivated to dust it off and plug it in again. I forgot just how much fun playing is. Once again, music has changed my life." If you've always yearned to be able to sit down at a piano and just play a favorite melody, there's no time like the present. "It's easy to learn - it's not hard at all. Anyone and everyone can do it. You don't have to be good at it to have fun. Three chords and you are making music!" 

If the thrill of stepping on stage and performing in front of your screaming

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 18 - September 5275
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