I'm a big believer in NSAI. First, I applaud their legislative efforts and their role in raising awareness of intellectual property rights. Second, my experience is that the individuals there have a real spirit of community. They are eager to help develop the craft of even the crudest songwriter. Make no mistake, they hear a lot of bad songs. But, from what I've seen, they stay professional and treat every writer with dignity.
For the writer, the opportunity to have their songs critiqued by a professional is of tremendous value. The weekly seminars (which you don't even have to be an NSAI member to attend) also tend to be very informative. Finally, it's a great place to meet fellow songwriters and get your "bearings" in Music City.
I joined NSAI about 18 years ago while living in Virginia. The first year I was a member I wore out the critiquing service. During the second year I ran a local NSAI Workshop. I found the staff to be willing to bend over backwards to help me become a better writer. I moved to Nashville 16 years ago and the first place I went to was NSAI where I volunteered my time to stuff envelopes and help out at special events. I later became the person that edited the guest speaker tapes. NSAI is a great place to meet other people that have the same dreams as you. Some of the people I met became life long friends as well as wonderful co-writers. Jonathan is right about it being a great place to get your bearings in Music City. Many of the hit writers came up through NSAI. Use it and all of it's resources and it will make a difference. There are some really nice people at NSAI and I think the world of them.
Wow! Thanks, guys. I've been on the fence for too long and you have helped me make my decision. I'll head down to NSAI Monday. I have been to a few of the Indie Connect meetings. I love them and have made some great friends and contacts through IC but their meetings don't coincide with my schedule often enough. Vinny Rebas at Indie Connect has been extremely helpful and is a very warm individual.
Thanks again for your advice and recommendations!