Dr. Rene Laennec, French Physician, Researcher, Teacher & Musician: Madeline’s Monthly Blog/Article for February 2019

Our Radio Show and blog celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Dr.Rene Laennec, French physician, inventor of the Stethoscope, researcher, teacher, musician, and husband. Our article of the month is “Leaders Walk Slowly” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. Included are three articles on listening to classical music for improved health.

Radio Show Feature Question for February 2019: How did classical music play a part of Dr. Rene Laennec’s life as a French physician, researcher, teacher, and musician and what musical instrument did he play?



Early Life:

Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec was born on February 17, 1781 to Michelle and Theophile Laennec, a lawyer in Quimper, France. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was 5 years old and he was sent with his brother, Michaud, to live with their uncle, Dr. Guillaume Laennec, a gifted medical doctor. They lived in Nantes during the French Revolution.

Rene’s suffered raised body temperature, fever, and asthma as a child. He began to learn to play the flute. He also studied physics, chemistry, Latin, Greek, and dancing. With his uncle Dr. Guillaume Laennec’s encouragement at the age of 14, Rene began his medical studies.



At 17, in 1798 Laennec was 5 ′ 3 ″ in height and excessively thin. He studied and worked hard and was determination to become a healer. “He spent the next few years taking small jobs, treating those who had been wounded during the French civil war, and finally got his break in April of 1801 when his father gave him 600 francs.” He walked 200-mile to Paris in ten days to study at Charite Hospital.

At Charite Hospital in Paris Laennec worked with “renowned teacher Jean-Nicolas Corvisart, who went on to become emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal physician in 1804.”

Dr. Corvisart’s focused “on observing diagnostic signs and discovering their relationship to disease. Laennec’s training was marked by the principle, “Read little, see much, do much.”

Laennec “was often found in the dissecting room during post-mortem examinations or on daily rounds with his teacher. His fervent work paid off, and he was honored with two highly coveted distinctions. First, he was invited by his instructors to join the Societe d’Instruction Medicale (in which students critiqued one another’s clinical and autopsy work) and then he passed the selective examination that allowed him entrance into a medical training program for special students at the Ecole Pratique.”



Published Scientific papers at the age of 21: Dedicated Physician:

The French government honored Dr. Laennec with the First Prize in Medicine and Sole Prize in Surgery in 1803. “Laennec continued to suffer from shortness of breath, an indication of progressing tuberculosis. Despite his sickness .. he continued with his relentless work, teaching private classes on pathology in which he first defined the tubercle as the small lump whose presence signified the existence of tuberculosis.”


Dr. Laennec’s Begins his Private Practice, Hospital Post & Inventing his Stethoscope:

In 1816, Dr. Laennec accepted an academic post at Hospital Necker-a small facility.

Dr. Rene Laennec said, “In 1816, I was consulted by a young woman laboring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case the application of the ear to the chest being rendered inadmissible by the age and sex of the patient. I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics, and fancied, at the same time, that it might be turned to some use on the present occasion.”

“If you place your ear against one end of a wood beam the scratch of a pin at the other end is distinctly audible. It occurred to me that this physical property might serve a useful purpose in the case I was dealing with. I then tightly rolled a sheet of paper, one end of which I placed over the precordium (chest) and my ear to the other. I was surprised and elated to be able to hear the beating of her heart with far greater clearness than I ever had with direct application of my ear. I immediately saw that this might become an indispensable method for studying, not only the beating of the heart, but all movements able of producing sound in the chest cavity.1,4,5


Dr. Laennec for three years tested different materials to perfect his stethoscope to listen “to the chest findings of patients with pneumonia.”


“Laënnec decided upon a hollow tube of wood, 3.5 cm in diameter and 25 cm long, which was the forerunner of the modern stethoscope. His instrument was fitted with a plug when used to listen to the heart and to make it portable, was made in parts that could be disassembled. Laënnec investigated the sounds made by the heart and lungs with his invention and found that his diagnoses were supported by observations made in autopsies.”

Dr. Laennec published in 1819, his “Treatise on Medical Ausculation”. He was 38 years old. Auscultation is listening to a patient’s lungs, heart, and intestines to evaluate the sounds through Dr. Laennec’s stethoscope.


Laennec called his new instrument “stethoscope,” based on the Greek words stethos (meaning chest) and skopos (observer). Usually, however, Laennec referred to it simply as le Cylindre, and made a more permanent wooden version that was designed to come apart into two segments. In the autopsy room, Laennec could see the abnormality that was responsible for the sounds he had heard.”


Dr. Rene Laennec was committed to listening carefully to his patients and observing and recognizing pneumonia, skin tumors, lesions, and liver diseases. He published thousands of pages and gave hundreds of lectures on these findings.“In  1821 he became the professor of medicine and royal lecturer at the College de France. Later he moved to the Charite Hospital where he had been a medical student and became a highly respected teacher. He made Paris the world’s hub of medical study, as hundreds of international students gathered at the Charite in order to attend lectures, work with him in the autopsy room, and make hospital rounds.”


Dr. Rene Laennec was a French physician, inventor of the stethoscoperesearcher, teacher, lifelong musician, and husband. He was a dedicated to saving the lives of his patients and training doctors to continue his work.  Dr. Rene Laennec died on August 13,1826 at the age of 45 from tuberculosis.


“Leaders Walk Slowly” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Walk slowly and connect with others.

For over 30 years I have attended business meeting each week. I arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time to greet the other attendees, ask how each of them and their families are doing, and listen carefully to their responses with a smile on my face. Leaders care about their team members and connect with them. As Dr. John Maxwell says, “Leaders walk slowly through the crowd stopping to ask others how they are and listening attentively to their answers.”

We had the company Christmas Party, in early December, and that is exactly what I did. There were about 50-60 people in attendance.  I walked around slowly through the room stopped by each person smiled and asked how they were doing and their children. It took over an hour to do this, but everyone enjoyed talking about themselves and were happy that I cared enough to ask and listen intently to them.  Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli taught me this secret of connecting with others.

Identify one or two places in your life to slow down and connect with others.


If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: [email protected]


“5  Ways Music Can Improve Your Health”  (Dec.  26, 2018) by Amy Osmond Cook  from the Orange County Register.  “Along with cognitive benefits, music can also improve mental health. … speed and memory when classical music was playing in the background.”


“It Reminded Me I Had A Life To Go Back To’: Music In Hospitals & Care” (Dec. 13, 2018) by Lucy Thraves, Deputy Editor.

“The policy at the time was to provide concerts of ‘serious’ classical music, generally chosen on behalf of the patients by the ‘Medical Superintendent’. Delivers high-quality live music to people who wouldn’t normally be able to access it. ”



“Classical Music DJ Soothes Seniors’ Souls” by Susan Minuk (January 4, 2019) from the Canadian Jewish News.

“Music is good for the brain. Along with its cognitive benefits, music can ease anxiety, assist with memory and cognitive processing, improve mental health by stimulating and calming the brain, and provide vital opportunities for social involvement. In the summer of 2017, Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto introduced residents and patients to 69-year-old Howard Mednick, a classical music DJ .. using technology to connect audiences with leading performers and orchestras from around the world.”

Mednick says, “Even though the concert may be in Carnegie Hall in New York, I am presenting it to them at Baycrest. The audience will feel they are right there in the concert hall, or even sitting alongside the musicians in the orchestra.”



“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:


Barnes and Noble(Nook)



“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun 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.


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math” 



 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:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”  as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:


Wishing you and your family a happy Valentine’s Day 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 found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments 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) 2019 Madeline Frank.