Dr. Anton Pühringer, Scientist & Musician: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article for September 2021
Our blog/article and Radio Show shares the work and life of Dr. Anton Pühringer, scientist and musician.
The new school year is also a wonderful opportunity to start learning a musical instrument to learn discipline, cooperation, teamwork, motivation, concentration and self-esteem. Studying a musical instrument develops millions of new connections, synapses, between nerve cells in the brain. Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, engineers, teachers, dentists, CPAs, and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Studying a musical instrument develops millions of new connections, synapses, between nerve cells in the brain.
Also included is an article on how studying a musical instrument can improve students’ academic skills in school.
Our article of the month is “Persistence Is the Key” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
Radio Show Feature Question for September 2021: How does Classical music play a part of Dr. Anton Pühringer’s life as a scientist and musician, and what musical instrument does he play?
Many years ago, I began researching the scientific link between studying and playing a musical instrument and academic and societal success. I asked the “American Amateur Chamber Music Society” to ask its members to write in about their connections between studying a musical instrument and their academic success.
On August 18, 1995, Dr. Anton Pühringer , wrote a letter saying, “I shall participate in the International Aerospace and Ground Conference on Lightening and Static Electricity in Williamsburg , Virginia. I am a member of the Amateur Chamber Music Players. I would like to play at the Dinner Banquet on Wednesday, September 27, 1995 at 6:30pm the string quartett by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart KV 136 in three movements Allegro, Andante, Finale Presto. Could you be so kind to play the violin or viola part and can you help me to complete the string quartett? If this should be possible I will take my violin with me. Please let me know. I will arrive in Williamsburg Monday, September 25. I am looking forward to meeting you next month.” I wrote back I would be happy to do this!
Dr. Pühringer, a scientist from Vienna was presenting his paper on “The Formation of Superbolts in Thunderclouds” on Thursday, September 28, 1995 in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was a fine violinist, who had been playing the violin since he was a small child. Playing his violin was a lifelong pursuit for him.
I asked a talented violist and cellist from my orchestra at Christopher Newport University to join us. (I was the orchestra conductor at CNU for our Chamber Orchestra and a faculty member at the school.) Dr. Pühringer and I played the violin parts in the quartet. We rehearsed with Dr. Pühringer a few days before the concert at my home. Dr. Pühringer and his wife, at our rehearsal gave me a beautiful book of pictures of Vienna with a picture of him in concert dress. This is the picture on our Radio Show page for him. We had a wonderful time rehearsing and performing Mozart’s Quartet, KV136 with Dr. Pühringer.
My Mom, Romayne L. Frank suggested I call and find out the name of the head of the Conference so I could do a little research. I asked the head of the conference if I could give a one-minute speech on “Music, Science, and the Brain” and ask the conferees to fill out a short questionnaire on their musical studies as children? He said, “Of course!”
After we performed the Mozart Quartet with Dr. Pühringer, the Director of the Conference introduced me. I said, “I’ve been researching how music stimulates the brain and promotes scholastic aptitude. Many of the world’s engineers, scientists, medical doctors, and mathematicians have studied musical instruments and continue to do so. Albert Einstein began playing the violin at 6 years of age. His wife and son both stated that his thinking process, for his theory of relativity, could not have been completed without him playing on his violin or piano. I have researched many scientists who have also integrated their thinking process with playing a musical instrument.”
“Dr. Gerald Edelman, MD, Director of Neurosciences Institute and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at Scripps Research Institute in California is also a marvelous violinist who has played since childhood and continues to give concerts. His research on the brain has determined that the brain is a Darwinian organ which changes with the stimulation it receives. When playing a musical instrument, the brain cells are strengthened and form new connections. New medical research shows that playing a musical instrument stimulates all four lobes of the brain and the cerebellum. I’m sure many of you are in the same class as the scientists I’ve just mentioned such as our colleague Dr. Anton Pühringer. How many of you have ever played a musical instrument as an adult or as a child? I would appreciate your help in filling out this 2-minute questionnaire. Thank you for your help.
Questionnaire: I would appreciate your help in answering a few questions about your involvement with musical instruments. Your responses will be helpful in my research correlating the study of musical instruments with academic and vocational success.
- Name: ________________
- Address (Country if outside the USA or city and State if in USA.)
- Occupation: ___________________
- Have you played a musical instrument? Yes ( ) No ( )
- If yes, which instrument? ______________
- What age did you begin music lessons? _________
- Did you study or play the instrument throughout your academic life? Yes ( ) No ( )
- How many years did you play? _______
- Do you continue to play the instrument? ______
Please add additional comments concerning your involvement with music with insights and experiences regarding the benefits you have received from music study.
While the scientists were filling out the questionnaires, I played an excerpt from the Meditation from Thais by Massenet and a Gigue by Bach from Suite No. 1 on my viola.
Results of the Questionnaire at Dr. Anton Pühringer’s Lightning Conference: The conference was attended by scientists from the U.S. (75%) and Europe, Asia, and South America (25%). I took the opportunity to query the conferees on their musical history with the following results: Of the 114 engineers, physicists, and medical doctors 80% had played musical instruments as children and 60% continued to play.
We had a marvelous time playing Mozart’s Quartet, KV 136 with Dr. Pühringer at his Lightening Conference. I will always be grateful for his help in beginning my research on how music stimulates the brain and promotes scholastic aptitude.
Dr. Anton Pühringer is a scientist, lifelong musician, husband, family man, and friend. He enjoys sharing his discoveries with other scientists and playing chamber music with others.
“Persistence is the Key” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
The people who become the leaders of their lives rather than going with the flow and accepting the scraps that life tosses them understand the power of persistence.
Earl Nightingale, American radio speaker and author says, “Sometimes it appears that there is a hidden guide someplace whose duty it is to test men and women through all sorts of discouraging experiences. Those who pick themselves up and keep trying after getting knocked down arrive. It’s an uncanny thing, but it works. And this hidden guide lets no one enjoy great achievement without passing the persistence test, it seems. And those who can’t take it simply don’t make the grade.” (From Earl Nightingale’s book “Transformational Living”)
Nightingale continues, “And those who can take it are bountifully rewarded for their persistence. They receive as their compensation whatever goal they’re pursuing. And that’s not all, because they receive something infinitely more important than material compensation, although they get that. But they get the knowledge that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. There are exceptions to this rule. A few people know from experience the soundness of persistence. They’re the ones who have not accepted defeat as being anything more than temporary. They’re the ones whose desires are so persistently applied that defeat has finally changed into victory.”
W. Clement Stone tells the story of Tom, “who was born without half of a right foot and only a stub of a right arm. As a boy, he wanted to engage in sports as the other boys did. He had a burning desire to play football. Because of this desire, his parents had an artificial foot made for him. It was made of wood. The wooden foot was encased in a special stubby football shoe. Hour after hour, day after day, he would practice kicking the football with his wooden foot. He would try, and keep on trying, to make field goals from great distances. He became so proficient that he was hired by the New Orleans Saints.”
Nightingale says, “what would you say a person’s chances of playing professional football were if he were born without half of a right foot and a withered arm?”
66,910 football fans could be heard screaming “when Tom Dempsey with his crippled leg, kicked the longest field goal ever kicked in a professional football game, within the last two seconds of the game, to give the Saints a winning score of nineteen to seventeen over the Detroit Lions.”
Detroit Coach Joseph Schmidt said, “We were beaten by a miracle.”
The truth of the matter was “they were beaten by perseverance.”
Tom Dempsey was persistent and willing to do the hard work to reach his goal. He fell in love with the process of being the best kicker he could be. Even though he had different abilities than his teammates; he was determined, with a positive attitude, always looking forward!
How strong is your burning desire to reach your goal? If you created a 3 step process, what would that look like? What is your first step?
Gayle Benson, Saints owner says, “Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations. He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family.”
Tom Dempsey continued to be an inspiration to others until his death in 2020, and his legacy lives on.
All of us have felt the pang of regret when we’ve given up on a difficult task, knowing that we have somehow short-changed our true potential. Conversely, most of us have felt the joy of a hard-earned victory when the future seemed bleak.
Earl Nightingale, read “about the great Knute Rockne of Notre Dame who believed and applied, the rewards of persistence”
“He had a blood clot in one leg, and his doctors told him if that blood clot broke free, it could kill him if it landed in his heart, brain, or lungs. But the Notre Dame team was playing far from home that day, and he insisted on being taken to the game on a stretcher. So, they got him to where the game was to be played. And they took him down to the dressing room where his football players were getting ready for the game. And the perspiration was running down his face and he was in terrible pain and he propped himself up on his elbows with a tremendous effort and said, “This team you’re playing today beat us last year.”
“I want you to get out there and win.” He then said, “The team that won’t be beat, can’t be beat.”
Rockne “then fell back on his stretcher, out of breath and suffering terribly, and the team went out and won the game, and they never lost another game as long as Knute Rockne was alive, because when they saw the type of courage that he could develop, how persistently he fought to win even though he was flat on his back, it made giants out of men.”
Nightingale: “And people that stand on the sidelines of life see the overwhelmingly large number who go down in defeat, never to rise again. They see the few who take the punishment of defeat as an urge to greater effort. And these fortunately never learn to accept life’s reverse gear, but what we don’t see, what most of us never suspected existed, is the silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who fight on in the face of discouragement.”
“Now if we speak of this power at all, we call it persistence and let it go at that. One thing we all know, if one does not possess persistence, one cannot achieve any noteworthy success in any calling.”
To reach your goal or dream ask yourself these three questions:
1) Do you have a burning desire to reach your goal or dream?
2) What is your step by step process for reaching your goal or dream?
3) Are you willing to be persistent and do the work like Tom Dempsey?
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Music and Intelligence: Do Music Lessons Improve Cognitive Skills? (2020) by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D. “Kids hone auditory skills that can help them decipher speech. And new research hints that certain kinds of music training may boost math and thinking skills.”
The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:
“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun easy way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.:
Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World”. This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:
Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:
Wishing you and your family a safe September, Labor Day Holiday, from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline
For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award-winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has discovered a scientific link between studying a musical instrument and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2021 Madeline Frank