Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with a story from the operating room.
"The O.R. is a naturally rhythmic place, in that you have the beating of the anesthesia machines and the autoclave comes on," says Divya Singh, an orthopedic and hand surgeon. "So music just becomes another sound."
In just a few weeks, we will mark the seventh anniversary of one of the country's deadliest hurricanes. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still recovering from the devastating damage and loss of life caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — the storm that would follow.
In the 1920s, the sound of music in the black church underwent a revolution. Standing at 40th and State Street in Chicago, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was a witness to what occurred.
The high-energy gospel beat of the music that can still be heard in this Pentecostal church is the creation, music critics say, of Arizona Dranes, a blind piano player, a woman who introduced secular styles like barrelhouse and ragtime to the church's music.
In an alley in Little Village on Chicago's West Side, the faint sound of music from a Spanish-speaking radio station wafts in the air and garbage cans are sprayed with gang graffiti. They look like the tattoos on 17-year-old Elias Roman's arms.
"This [alleyway] right here is where I caught my first gun case," says Elias, who was born and raised in the neighborhood, home to a large Mexican-American community.
The weak economy is helping to drive thousands more college graduates into the U.S. military.
Since the recession began in 2007, there's been a steady increase in the number of college graduates joining the armed forces. The Navy and Army have seen the biggest jumps. About 60 percent more college grads joined the Navy last year than in 2007.
For some of them, it's a job some would never have imagined for themselves just a few years ago.