Host of NPR’s Annoying Music Show Dies – Jim Nayder, who brought ear-aching music to NPR’s Weekend Edition for years, has died at age 59. He said annoying music wasnt’ that bad, as much as good songs recorded by big stars who should have known better. Leonard Nimoy once raised his Vulcan eyebrows to ask “Why won’t that annoying man let me forget my own singing?” He also did another local show in Chicago, Magnificent Obession, which was for people battling various addictions.
Leaders in the Punk Classical Niche – If you’re looking for an ensemble that blends new works by cutting-edge modern composers with virtuosic playing on various electronically-amplified instruments, Newspeak is a leader this area. Their hard-punching music has been described as forged in the fires of Black Sabbath, Louis Andreissen, the Dead Kennedys and Frederic Rzewski. They sometimes reach the highs of a great rock band yet also keep the dexterity and intricacy of classical chamber music. Their debut CD was sweet light crude on New Amersterdam, available from Amazon.
Music Education Helps Kids to Read and Study – Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about a study showing a link between music training and reading. He says it does show that music training has some positive effect for reading. It involved 159 German first graders, a third of whom had eight months of training in rhythmic skills, tonal/melodic skills and auditory discrimination of timbre and sound intensity. One-third had art training instead of music training, and another third had no training. Those in the music-training group had a high reading rating at the end of the study, those with no training were lower, and those with the art training were the lowest. The study seems to point toward some types of music training aiding children’s learning to read, at least in certain languages.
Glastonbury Festival in the UK – Covering 1000 acres in Somerset, the festival sold 135,000 tickets in one hour and 40 minutes. Main performances will feature The Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons and the Arctic Monkeys. Other performers will include Nike Cave, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis Costello, Kenny Rogers and Public Enemy. Festival goers streamed to the site ahead of time to secure the best camping spots, having trudged for miles.
Music Helping Dementia Patients Improve Memory – Pacifica Senior Living in Northridge, CA, participates in the Music and Memory Program, in which residents with dementia listen to music chosen by family members, at least once a day, via headphones and an iPod. Results have been nothing short of miraculous. Patients have less agitation, an increased recollection and an appetite boost. Even after the music if turned off, it gives them better sleep and they have a more peaceful day. An 84-year-old former physics professor prefers classical music on his iPod. His wife said it transforms him and he can then remember parts of his life. A neurology professor said “Perhaps by using music to active the networks still there, we can elevate the mood and improve the quality of life for these patients.”