President’s Innovation Award Recipients Attend Believe in Music Week

Elizabeth Dale

Designed to honor college students who demonstrate excellence in the field of music, the President’s Innovation Award (PIA) provides an opportunity for students to attend The NAMM Show. Winners of the award are pursuing a career in music including, music performance, music education, media, sound engineering/audio, event technology, production, administration, management, and marketing.

Since its inception in 2010, PIA has offered 682 of students the opportunity to travel to Southern California to attend The NAMM Show, network with their peers and industry professionals, and partake in professional development sessions curated to support emerging leaders. As the in-person gathering was not able to take place due to the pandemic, The NAMM Foundation brought together 33 students from 23 universities during Believe in Music week (January 18-21). Believe in Music week hosted a mix of comprehensive programming and professional education, all while facilitating an interactive marketplace to engage buyers and offered support to those most deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unique to Believe in Music week was the opportunity for PIA recipients to participate in a conversation and Q&A session with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond, a Q&A session with artists during Believe in Music Week, and attend “Careers in Music Summit Featuring Grace Kelly,” an engaging session that provided career advice for long-term success in the music products industry. Jessica Elalouf, a 2021 PIA recipient, reflected on the session stating, “This session was great. As someone who wanted to be a music teacher but ended up in music retail, I agree wholeheartedly, it's important to focus on the journey and not the destination.”

After NAMM’s Believe in Music week, we spoke with Christian Konstantinov, who attended the event as a first-time PIA recipient.

Why did you decide to apply for the President’s Innovation Award?

I had heard about it from the music production club at my university. The club president told us about his experience, and I thought it was interesting. About a year later, a professor mentioned it in an email, and I realized that this year was my last year to apply. I have a huge interest in digital signal processing, game development, and music production, but I'm not proficient with an instrument, so I thought that I might not be a top contender for the award. However, I knew that I would regret not applying.

Why should other students apply for the award in the future?

Hopefully, next year, we'll be able to return to The NAMM Show; that alone is reason enough to apply. Beyond having the chance to attend a NAMM Show, PIA provides a great opportunity to connect with some amazing people. If you told me that I would be interviewed about my music a year ago, I probably would call you a liar. But it happened, all thanks to a connection I made at Believe in Music week. The hardest part of the whole PIA process is putting yourself out there, and I'm glad that I did. Lastly, I'd imagine that the President's Innovation Award stands out on a resume. A theory that I’m ready to test out soon.

Content from Believe in Music week is available through the end of February at, and for more information on the President’s Innovation Award, visit