Music and Musicians in the News

For some time now, people have been working to understand the effects of music and music-study on the minds of young people. A new study by Neuroscientists at Northwestern University, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that these effects continue to benefit these young people throughout their entire lives. Forty-four adults, aged 55 to 76, listened to the syllable, “da,” as the electrical activity of their auditory brainstems was measured, testing the speed of their brain’s response to auditory stimuli. The response was consistently faster from people who had had 4 to 14 years of musical training in their youth (even though some had not touched an instrument since).
Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, and one of the authors of the study, said, “Our general thinking about education is that it is for our children. But in fact we are setting up our children for healthy aging based on what we are able to provide them with now,” underscoring the importance of music education for our youth.
For more information on this, visit The New York Times or The Huffington Post.


On the less-enlightened side of the spectrum, on December 22, 2013, a number of hand-made, wooden flutes belonging to musician Boujemaa Razgui, were destroyed by customs agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. His instruments, seemingly misidentified as fresh bamboo canes (a regulated agricultural product), were “destroyed safely,” as told to Razgui by a customs employee, at JFK Airport (where Razgui, the Canadian citizen who has a green card and is based in Boston, had a layover on his way to Boston from Morocco).
Other customs agents claimed they destroyed only bamboo canes, and not instruments. However, Razgui claims that his bag was almost completely empty when he was finally delivered to him in Boston. Razgui makes his living playing these flutes and is understandably upset, saying “I don’t know what to do; I need my materials to make my living… I need something to work with, it doesn’t make sense to me that they were just cut off, I have a big heart for this…Right now I don’t have a job; I don’t know what to do.”
One would not be surprised to hear of more developments in this story as the facts continue to unfold. It has already received coverage by several major news organizations. To read more, visit the story on CNN, Norman Lebrecht’s arts journal blog , or NPR.


• Bhanoo, Sindya N., “Long-Term Benefits of Music Lessons,”

• “Childhood Music Lessons Could Benefit Your Brain Later On,”

• Schwartz, Felicia, “International musician: U.S. Customs destroyed my instruments,”

• Lebrecht, Norman, “‘JFK Customs destroyed 11 of my instruments’,”

• Tsioulcas, Anastasia, “Destroyed By Customs? Or Stolen? Whatever Happened, Flutes Are Gone,”