After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Turkey's secularized society disdained the ney, the Sufi reed flute long associated with Islam. The instrument's remarkable revival in today's cities has inspired the creation of teaching and learning sites that range from private ney studios to cultural and religious associations and from university clubs to mosque organizations.
Banu Şenay documents the years-long training required to become a neyzen—a player of the ney. The process holds a transformative power that invites students to create a new way of living that involves alternative relationships with the self and others, changing perceptions of the city, and a dedication to craftsmanship. Şenay visits reed harvesters and travels from studios to workshops to explore the practical processes of teaching and learning. She also becomes an apprentice ney-player herself, exploring the desire for spirituality that encourages apprentices and masters alike to pursue ney music and its scaffolding of Islamic ethics and belief.