Category Archives: News

Vale Ted Middleton

Edward ‘Ted’ Middleton  (1944 – 2019)

Ted Middleton



The association was sad to learn of the passing of Ted Middleton on September 3rd. Ted was a very popular and well-respected member of the music products industry. Born in Scotland, raised in England, his parents were wartime entertainers who migrated to Australia. He formed the band, “The Boys”, who were moderately successful (supporting the Bee Gees and a few and other famous touring bands). He then owned and operated Bondi Music Headquarters for more than 15 years in the 80s and 90s before moving to Queensland in the late 90s. There, Ted worked representing many of the world’s leading brands and suppliers in that state. These Sydney Guitar Trader, Kurt Jacob and Co, Gibson Guitars – AMI, Casio, Syntec | Sennheiser , Intermusic IMD , HQ Agencies , Jet Music International and Maton for whom he worked for 20 years. He was most recently in business with his son Eddie where he was CFO of Jet Music. He loved playing guitar, cars, motorbikes and soccer, particularly Arsenal, and will always be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humour.

Ted was married to his wife Bronwyn for 43 years and had two kids; Katie and Eddie. We offer our condolences to the family and Ted’s close friends.

Ted Middleton and Tommy Emmanuel

Vale Steve Lincoln Smith

It is with great sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, Steve Lincoln Smith passed away on September 8 with his wife Julie by his side. He was 60 years old.

While his industry friends and colleagues knew he was crook, his passing has come as a surprise to many, and we offer our heartfelt  condolences to Julie and the family as well as his large circle of friends and admirers.

It was only in May that Steve was added to the AMA’s Honour Roll for his outstanding and long service to the music products industry.

Steve commenced employment in the music products industry at aged 17, retiring at 60 years of age. Over those 43 years he worked for Rose Music, Yamaha Australia, Yamaha Japan, Innovative Music, in Retail, Wholesale, as Importer, Sub-contractor, performed as Product Demonstrator, Product Specialist, International, Domestic, NAMM presenter, Session Musician, Producer, Music Director, Performer, Touring Artist, Jingle Writer,.

Steve was considered an innovator, and a champion of music technology in Australia.

Steve was a classically trained pianist with an appreciation of the full orchestral landscape including a keen knowledge of string arranging. His first temptation away from the classical world was for the sounds and texture of the Hammond Organ in combination with the Leslie Speaker but it was synthesisers with their many varied sounds and unlimited possibilities that changed his musical direction.

Steve described himself as really a “classical musician with a decided bent toward Rock, Soul, Jazz and Funk”.  It was this passion for using new musical tools that has allowed Steve the freedom to create works in almost any style. His knowledge and deep understanding of the technology behind the music is also key to his ability to shine above other players.

At one point in his musical career Steve was a sought after session musician working in the studio on major releases, some of the more well-known artists included John Farnham, The Little River Band, David Hirschfelder, Kids in the Kitchen, Dear Enemy, Alias Smith and Jones and James Morrison.

For many years Steve has been the Musical Director of a well-known Melbourne Advertising and Jingle production house while also building up a large music technology company, Innovative Music. With his wife and partner Julie they forged new paths for the industry and encouraged new genres of music to flourish in Australia.

Our music industry will be the poorer without him. As colleague and friend Tony Burn said today “A great man, musician and corporate citizen. A huge loss to the industry, let alone family and friends”.

Steve Receives his AMA Honour Roll Award in May 2019

A Memorial will be held from 2pm-5pm, Friday, September 20, at Leonda, 2 Wallen Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122.




New AMA Office Bearers and Committee Elected at 2019 Annual General Meeting

The 2019 Annual General Meeting was held at Australis Music’s headquarters in Alexandria, NSW on Tuesday, 3 September. Michael Shade, General Manager, Music Products and Education Division at Yamaha Music was unanimously elected President on the day for the 2019-20 year.

Craig Johnston, out going president, Michael Shade, 2019-20 president, Anthony Ursino, new Vice-president at the 2019 AGM

The new Executive Committee was also elected – representing the Wholesale Sector are;

Michael Shade, (Yamaha Music), Tony Burn, (The Resource Corporation), Mark Amory, Fender Australia, Dave Clark, (Jacaranda Music), Richard Snape, (Hal Leonard), Warrick Baker, (Kawai) and Mat Walsham (Roland) were all elected unapposed this year.

Changes to the Constitution passed at the AGM ensured that the Retail sector is ably represented by at least four members. Elected this year were Anthony Ursino (Macron/GH Music) who was also elected VIce-president, Craig Johnston, (Keyboard Corner/KC’s Rock Shop), Graham Hoskins (Concept Music) and Jarred Finnigan (Sound Centre).

Re-appointed as ex-officio members to lead music education and advocacy activities were Gillian Erskine (Blackrock retail) and Mat Taylor (Yamaha).

Minutes of the AGM, together with the president’s and treasurer’s reports and Financials can be seen in the members only area on the website.




Rosewood Restrictions to be lifted for Musical Instruments

After three years of work and representation from a global coalition of companies and associations the CITES meeting in Geneva has voted in favour of allowing exemptions for trade and movement of finished musical instruments containing rosewood. Imports and exports of finished musical instruments, finished parts and finished accessories will no longer need a CITES permit. The exception applies to all species of dalbergia except Brazilian rosewood, which remains on CITES Appendix I.

Permits will not be required after 26 November, 2019. The Department of Energy and Environment have sent advice to stakeholders.

The AMA’s Rob Walker said, “in a time when pressure mounts on profitability in our industry, the removal of significant administrative requirements will be welcome news to many wholesalers and manufacturers of musical instruments.”

“The consensus reached in Geneva this week and the new policies adopted by CITES parties are the result of more than three years of collaboration among international music stakeholders, government officials, and conservation leaders,” noted Heather Noonan, vice president of advocacy for the League of American Orchestras. “Musical instrument stakeholders have a lasting commitment to the goals of CITES, will remain at the table for ongoing conversations, and are committed to educating the music community globally about how compliance with CITES requirements will support both urgent conservation needs and essential international cultural activity.”

The Coalition has made a compelling case to authorities and all four items that were the focus of our groups’ efforts were adopted. They are;

Prop. 52 Dalbergia Annotation #15
The proposal by Canada and the EU was accepted by consensus, with the part c exemption for finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories – and the related definitions that we supported – fully intact! Revisions were made to part b. of the annotation to expand the weight limit to 10kg per shipment, to accommodate handicrafts, both shipped and as personal effects. The proposal also includes a mandate for the Secretariat to undertake a study to assess the impact of Annotation #15’s exemption for finished products up to 10kg per shipment and finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories. If undertaken, the results of the study would be reviewed by the Standing Committee, to potentially inform an amendment proposal for CoP19. In other words, the discussions about further improving Annotation #15 will continue in the next three years.
It is of note that the Annotations Committee will also be re-established to review all annotations. And, in a separate decision, a mandate was created to study rosewood and potentially convene related workshops before CoP19.
The new exemptions goes into effect after 90 days from adoption.

Prop. 57 Cedrela
The proposal from Ecuador was annotated with #6 to require permits only for logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, and plywood, with a limited application to neotropical species. This means that musical instruments containing cedrela will not require CITES permits.

The Cedrela listing will not have effect for 12 months from adoption.

Prop. 13 Mammoth
The proposal was withdrawn by Israel, in response to objections from the Secretariat and Parties, primarily to do with the extinct species being outside the scope of the Convention. A new decision was accepted, directing the Secretariat – subject to external funding – to conduct a study on how trade in mammoth impacts trade in elephant ivory. If undertaken, the findings would be reported to the Standing Committee, which might inform proposals for CoP19.

Doc. 56 Simplified Procedures (relevant to the Musical Instrument Certificate)
A resolution was approved to initiate an new effort to streamline and simplify permit requirements for “the international movement of CITES specimens where the trade will have a negligible impact on the conservation of the species concerned.” This language was added and endorsed by the US and the EU with the intention that it will address the non-commercial cross-border movement of musical instruments, and result in a proposal for CoP19 to reduce the burdens associated with the CITES Musical Instrument Certificate.

AMA Receives NAMM Foundation Grant to further Develop Music Making in Australia in 2019/20







The Australian Music Association has been named a grant recipient of The NAMM Foundation. The organization was selected as one of 28 music-making organizations to receive a grant to fund vital programs that provide access to music-making opportunities across a variety of different communities and demographics.

“Through the transformative work of these organizations, thousands of people will discover or advance their love and desires for making music,” said Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “And these projects also advance new music learning experiences and capacity – all essential for creating more music makers.”

The grants serve to underscore the Foundation’s mission to advance participation in music making and offer quality access to all people. As one of 28 recipients, the Australian Music Association will utilize the resource to support the organization’s  efforts to establish the wonderful Make Music Day initiative in Australia as well as continue with its efforts to engage schools and local government to embrace group youth music making.

The AMA’s executive officer, Rob Walker said, ‘the grant from the NAMM Foundation enables our small association to think big! Through its grants program the foundation enables so many smaller organisations to take on projects that truly globalize the efforts of our industry to create more music makers and advocate for the importance of music education’.

Since its inception in 1994, The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program has donated more than $18 million in support to domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy and public service programs related to music-making. The grants program has also contributed significantly to the development in Australia of programs such as Musical Futures. The grants are funded in part by donations from the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,400 member companies worldwide.

About the Australian Music Association

The Australian Music Association’s is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to be the voice of the music products industry and grow music making in Australia. For more information please visit our website or Contact Rob Walker at

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members. The Foundation’s mission is to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit

2019 Melbourne Guitar Show Continues a Successful Tradition

The members of the association can be again well proud of their efforts with another very successful Melbourne Guitar Show staged last weekend. Nearly 5,000 guitar enthusiasts, artists and business people tramped throughout three levels in the members grandstand at Caulfield Racecourse as 70 +  exhibitors showed their wares to a hungry guitar public itching to see the latest gear on show.

The Association’s online publication, Australian Musician, which presents the show along with Triple M FM and 3PBS FM, published its 2019MGS Wrap last week which can be viewed AT THIS LINK

And Check out the new Highlight Reel


The show will return next year on August 1 & 2.

Our current AMA President, Craig Johnston, a keen supporter of the show said “The Melbourne Guitar Show has become a valuable marketing tool for my business. As a pioneer retailer exhibitor we’ve now participated in all 5 shows and will continue to for future shows. We gain exposure to 4000+ qualified buyers over the weekend of the show and build many leads who visit the store and we see an uplift in transactions in the weeks following as well as making excellent sales at the show, with GP that more than covers the cost of exhibiting”.

You can also see what goes on behind the scenes at the Show in this expose

Check out some of the Artists that graced the stages over the weekend too!


In the meantime the AMA would like to thank all the exhibitors who make the show the great event it has become. At this show, guitar gear is the star, and all the artists come to pay homage to the product as much as thrill us with their talent and inspire us to play more ourselves.

Vale Michael (Michele) Bava

The Father and Founder of Bava’s Music City, Michael (Michele) Bava passed away, Monday 22nd July 2019, Aged 89 years.

Mr Bava left a huge legacy in his family, circle of friends and the music industry. Founding Bavas Music City over 40 years ago we can say that Michael was a true Father to The Australian Music Industry and one of the longest lasting Music Stores in Australia.

The association pays tribute to the outstanding contribution made by Mr Bava, and extends it deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.

The funeral service will be held Tuesday, 30 July, 2019 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Corner Humphries and Cabramatta Roads, Mt Pritchard


2019 Melbourne Guitar Show! Another Big Show Coming Up

The Melbourne Guitar Centre approaches again for its 5th showing at the Caulfield Racecourse. The 2019 program is now online along with an again impressive list of industry suppliers, brands and retailers exhibiting the latest and best in guitars and gear.
The show continues to attract overseas guests as well as our own best players, and we’re expecting big crowds again for a great show.
There are a couple of stand spaces available, and we can accommodate a late entry or two. So get in touch if you want to take advantage of the opportunity the #MGS2019 provides.

Show organiser Rob Walker said, “the industry gets a bit excited with the show around the corner. It’s a time for new products, meeting our customers face to face and promoting our great industry” We have the bonus of presenting some of the finest talent in a fun weekend. It’s when the guitar community get together and we all look forward to it!”

The full list of 2019 EXHIBITORS can be seen HERE

Make Music Day 2019 Expands to National Event

As members will know, the AMA in partnership with NAMM Foundation, APRA AMCOS, and the Live Music Office has lead the establishment of Make Music Day Australia on the cultural calendar. In 2019 our participation increased by over 50% with significant alliances being forged and grown.

The beauty of Make Music Day is the whether you’re a professional musician, part of a community group, an avid music enthusiast or just a passer-by on the street, Make Music Day is free and open to one and all!

Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day is a day of community-led free musical expression now held annually on 21 June in more than 800 cities in 120 countries.

The AMA’s CEO Rob Walker said “we have are thrilled to have had such support in this second year. An event of this scope has been done on the smell of an oily rag these first two years and we are confident that people in high places are seeing the enormous cultural value of a celebratory event like Make Music Day”.

For our industry it provides inspiration and opportunities for the community. Aptly put by one supporter “I work more so in the community arts sector and think that Make Music Day is an incredible opportunity to mobilise and inspire people who may not be part of the ‘professional music industry’ and can be an accessible platform for these cohorts to connect with music in a more community friendly environment”.

Schools got involved too! here’s one very endearing example.

We are thrilled with the support of Create NSW one of our major communication partners in 2019. Create NSW is an exemplar in how government can be so influential in creating positive cultural initiatives such as Make Music Day. From feature international events like the live streaming project with Sydney Symphony Orchestra to music on trains and in Stations.

This video is a highlights reel of our involvement in the international streaming party.

One can imagine very easily what it would achieve if our whole country were united on one day to Make Music together. This is what Make Music Day is all about.




CITES Meeting of the Parties Scheduled in August | Hopes for Easing of Regulations in the Trade of Rosewood, Cedrela and Woolly Mammoth For Music Products

The 71st meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties and the 72nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 – 28 August 2019.

The association has advised our own agency the Department of Energy and Environment during this process, and hope that we have its support to the proposed industry exemptions.

This will be a meeting crucial for our industry as our coalition seeks an exemption for finished instruments from the regulations applying to Dalbergia, Cedrela and Woolly Mammoth. The Coalition’s submissions to the committee are as follows;

Cedrela and Musical Instruments ENG

CITES Musical Instrument Certificates ENG

Dalbergia and Musical Instruments ENG

Woolly Mammoth and Musical Instruments ENG