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"The monastic life is very plain and ordinary," says Father Cassian Folsom, the founder and prior of the Monks of Norcia, ensconced in the St. Benedict Monastery in central Italy. "You get up, and you pray, and you do your work and go to bed and then the next day you do the same thing."

A large portion of the monks' daily routine is singing. "We chant the Divine Office and the Mass every day," Folsom tells NPR's Scott Simon. "And if you put all of those moments together it takes about five hours a day. Three hundred sixty-five days a year."

Leonard Bernstein often said: "Every author spends his entire life writing the same book." The same could apply to composers.

How Do We Listen When We're Unable to Hear?

Jun 5, 2015

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Act Of Listening

About Evelyn Glennie's TED Talk

Percussionist and recording artist Evelyn Glennie is almost completely deaf, which means she listens to music with her body, not her ears.

About Evelyn Glennie

Matthew Aucoin is being compared to Mozart, Wagner and Leonard Bernstein. He's worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

The All Things Considered road-trip playlist is adding songs every week, thanks to the magic of crowdsourcing. We've asked for the songs listeners say they must hear on a long summer drive, and we've received more than 2,000 suggestions. You can listen to some of them here via our Spotify playlist — now featuring some of the songs listeners have brought to our attention.

There are about 800 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and hundreds of them have music programs. There are jazz bands, choirs, orchestras and marching bands. But for a couple of years, teachers and student musicians have faced a big problem: broken strings, worn-out horns and out-of-tune pianos — a backlog of aging instruments that the district is scrambling to repair and replace.

Instruments like the violin in senior Melissa Valenzuela's hands.

Nora Jane Struthers Is Wide Awake On New Album

Mar 4, 2015

Nora Jane Struthers is a singer-songwriter who grew up in New Jersey and was teaching high-school English in Brooklyn before moving to Nashville to attempt a full-time career in music. With her band The Party Line, she's just released a new album called Wake. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has a review.

Just its title has an ominous sense of finality: The Last Song Before the War.

The documentary by Kiley Kraskouskas presents the 2011 Festival in the Desert, a showcase for Mali's incredible musicians that had been held underneath the stars outside of Timbuktu for 12 years. Ten months after the joyous celebration depicted in the film, Islamic extremists took over that part of the country. Among the horrors inflicted by the occupiers was a total ban on music.

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