Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Apgar, Medical Doctor, Trail Blazer, Inventor, Professor, Researcher & Musician: Preparing for Your First Day of School: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article for August 2022

Our Radio Show and blog celebrates the life and work of Dr. Virginia Apgar, Medical Doctor, trail blazer, professor, inventor, researcher, and musician. The new school year is fast approaching. As we prepare to approach this new school year the world has opened up and travel and tourism is flourishing.

To prepare for your new school year we have included Nationally known expert teachers, Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong’s Procedures, and their First Day of School Scripts. Also included are Dr. Frank’s, “10 Creative Ways to Inspire Students & Curb Teachers Burn Out!” and Mrs. Becky Jenkins Irons, our Radio Shows 2016 Teacher of the Year Award winner, a fourth-grade teacher, shares how she prepared for her first day of the new school year.

The beginning of the new school year is a new opportunity for students to begin studying a musical instrument. Studying a musical instrument teaches students to concentrate, be focused, be discipline, gives them self-esteem, teaches cooperation and working with others. Many of the world’s medical doctors, mathematicians, biologists, chemists, scientists, engineers, writers, teachers, and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Included is an article on music therapy, helping patients to heal.

Radio Show Feature Question for August 2022: How did Classical music play a part of Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Apgar’s life as a medical doctor, trail blazer, inventor, professor,  researcher, and musician and which musical instruments did she play?



Early years:

Virginia Apgar was born in Westfield, New Jersey to Charles E. Apgar and Helen May Apgar on June 7, 1909. She was their youngest child.  Her father Charles, an insurance executive, inventor, and scientist worked on his inventions in the basement of their house. He enjoyed performing music with his family in their living room concerts. Virginia began studying the violin at 6 years of age and later the cello.  She played home concerts with her father on piano and her older brother. Her joy in playing music continued her entire life. As a child her interest in science began by watching and observing her father Charles’s experiments with his telescope and radio.

In school she excelled in science and later decided she wanted to become a doctor. In high school she was known for her tremendous energy and “her rapid speech.” The yearbook editor wrote “…frankly, how does she do it?”) In college this was to become her “trade mark”. In 1925, “she graduated from Westfield high School”.

University/ Graduate School:

Virginia Apgar began her studies at Mount Holyoke College majoring in zoology. She had several part time jobs to support herself. During college, “she played on seven sports teams, reported for the college newspaper, acted in dramatic productions, and played violin in the orchestra. Even with all these activities, her academic work was exceptional; in her last year, her zoology professor and advisor noted, “It is seldom that one finds a student so thoroughly immersed in her subject and with such a wide knowledge of it.”

In 1929, Virginia Apgar earned her AB from Mount Holyoke. “She began her medical training at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P & S), one of only nine women in a class of ninety.”

In 1933 Virginia Apgar became “one of Columbia University’s first female M.D.’s” she specialized in the male-dominated area of medicine surgery. She became tired of the chauvinism she was experiencing during her internship and decided to switch her focus to the new field of anesthesiology.”



Professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia:

Dr. Apgar in 1949 became the first full professor of anesthesiology at Columbia.

One day a medical student of Dr. Apgar asked her “about the need to evaluate newborn babies.” Dr. Apgar said, “That’s easy, you’d do it like this.” She grabbed the nearest piece of paper, jotted down the 5 points of her Apgar Score and then rushed off to O.B Obstetrics & Gynecology to try it out.”

What are Dr. Virginia Apgar’s 5-point Score for new born babies?

1) Appearance, skin color

2) Pulse, heart rate

3) Grimace, reflex irritability

4) Activity, muscle tone

5) Respiration, breathing

Dr. Virginia Apgar developed in 1952 “the Apgar score, a rapid method for assessing the status of newborns, given at one minute and five minutes after birth for attending physicians and nurses.” As a physician she assisted in over 17,000 births. Dr. Apgar’s name is the Pneumonic. She knew from her research that birth is the most dangerous time of life. Her Apgar Score quickly assessed the overall health of new borne babies saving the lives of millions of new born babies each year. When Dr. Apgar was alerted to a problem she immediately thought of how to solve it.

Dr. Apgar in 1959 “lectured in Medicine at Johns Hopkins, and was clinical professor of pediatrics at Cornell University, New York”.



Continuing Medical Research: *Dr. Virginia Apgar “went on to do further important research in neonatal acid-base status, especially in terms of hypoxia and acidosis, and also on the effects of maternal anesthesia on the neonate. She also introduced the anterior approach to the stellate ganglion in 1948.”

She continued learning to help others. In 1959, she earned a Master’s degree in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

She also worked at The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis: March of Dimes as “director for the division of birth defects (1959-1967); director of research, VP, in the causes, prevention and treatment of birth defects (1967-1972); educating the public on birth defects, generating public support and funds for research on birth defects;  and was senior vice president in charge of medical affairs (1973-74).”



Is My Baby All Right? A Guide to Birth Defects” (1973) Virginia Apgar, M.D., Joan Beck


Dr. Virginia Apgar’s Work & Honors:
*“In 1961 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. She was appointed Honorary Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Associate Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.”

* In 1973 she was “Woman of the Year on national television.”

* In 1973 “she was appointed lecturer in the Department of genetics at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.”

* “She served as an alumna trustee at Mount Holyoke College from 1966 until 1971.”

* “She served American Society of Anesthesiologists as Treasurer from 1941 to 1945.”

* “Awarded the ASA Distinguished Service Award in 1961. She was the first woman officer of ASA.”

* “In 1973 Dr. Apgar was the first woman to receive the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.”

  • “In 1994, Dr. Apgar was pictured on a U.S. postage stamp, as part of the Great Americans series.”



Musical Organizations:

Dr. Apgar’s enjoyed performed on her violin and cello with the Teaneck Symphony of N.Y., The Amateur Music Chamber Players, and with the Catgut Acoustic Society. Whenever she was traveling she would bring her violin or cello to play chamber music with other musicians in different cities. She was a lifelong musician always carrying her viola or cello with her to play chamber music with other amateur musicians in the Cities she was lecturing in. She also crafted musical instruments a violin, viola and cello.

Dr. Virginia Apgar’s Other Hobbies:She enjoyed traveling and angling in the Salmon Rivers of Scotland and on the Great Barrier Reef. “She was also an avid stamp collector.”

Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Apgar, Medical Doctor, trail blazer, legend, inventor, professor, researcher , and lifelong musician was dedicated to saving the lives of her new born patients. Her brilliant light was extinguished on August 7, 1974 in New York City.  © 2022 Madeline Frank


Preparing for Your First Day of School:

Dr. Harry Wong says, “The very first day, the very first minute, the very first second of school, teachers should begin to structure and organize their classrooms, to establish procedures and routines.”

Dr. Rosemary Wong was asked to “give an example of what you mean by procedures?” She responded, “if you could close your eyes and say to yourself, “This is something I’d like to have happen in my classroom,.. then you need to come up with a procedure for it. You need to teach the procedure, and there are three basic steps to doing that. The first is to explain it. The second step is rehearsing it, physically going through the procedure and making corrections as needed. And the third is reinforcing it, which you can do by acknowledging that the procedure is being carried out correctly.” Remember to teach all “three steps”.

The Wong’s said, “Classroom procedures should cover every second of the school day including what students are to do as they enter the classroom, how they are to be dismissed, and how they are to label and turn in their homework.”

Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong said they “start by greeting your students at the classroom door each day.  Have “bell work” or short assignments posted on the board prior to the start of each day. Bell work, even if it’s something simple as silent reading gets students into work mode right away. Posting a daily agenda every day in the same place every day, eliminating questions.”

What procedure do the Wong’s use to quiet their classes?

In their book the technique is called ‘Give Me Five’. “1) Eyes on Speaker, 2) Quiet, 3) Be still, 4) Hands free, 5) Listen. In five seconds, the class is quiet.”


Preparing for Your First Day of School:

Drs. Harry & Rosemary Wong’s “First Day of School Scripts”:  


“Middle School Script”:


“High School Script”:


Effective teaching:


Dr. Frank’s, “10 Creative Ways to Inspire Students & Curb Teachers Burn Out!”

  • 1) Effective teachers and administrators agree to have“an assignment on the board” for students to start on the second they walk into the new classroom.

 “A well-planned lesson eliminates 90% of discipline problems.”–

“Before your first day of school have your “First Day of School Script” ready with the “Procedures” you will use for your class and implement them by rehearsing your class until all the students know your procedures and understand them.

*For example: What is your procedure for students having a cell phone in class?   -In your “Procedures” include Mrs. Hamilton’s definition of “Character”. “Character is knowing the right thing to do, doing the right thing even when no one is watching, and taking the consequences for what you do. The first step to develop character from the First Day of School is to teach that definition, and challenge students to build walls of character around themselves in the weeks ahead.”

  • Remember to decide your procedures and teach them to your class on the first day of school. Harry K. Wong and Dr. Rosemary Wong’s book “The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher” is a must read for all teachers’.

Have your smile in place, your student’s seat assignments ready during social distancing , and your first assignment on the board for the students to get started immediately after sitting down and have your classical music ,

 Mozart Symphony or string music by Baroque composer J. S. Bach (slow movement with strings) on in the background of your classroom.

School starts the first minute the students enter for the new school year. Be prepared! Start preparing and rehearsing this summer. Remember students need to feel safe and secure! They need procedures.

2) Before the first day of school decide how you are to dress for success in bright colors to get your students attention. Remember first impressions are the most important.

3) Do you remember the middle school and high school Chemistry and Math teachers playing Classical Mozart Symphonies in the background of their classes and how much better behaved and smarter the students became? Well you can do this too! Put on your Classical music and help your students get smarter, work faster, and calmer.

4) Don’t just lecture tell a story. Make the material visual. Be creative by becoming a teaching artist! Example: Dr. Madeline Frank’s “Musical Notes On Math”, teaching fractions and decimals to children in K-5 through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award newly updated kindle edition

5)  Make your course come alive. Make it fun to learn. Remember that Alicia Keys and Dr. Condoleezza Rice both studied the piano learning Classical music and skipping grades in high school. They were both at the top of their high school classes all through school because they played Classical music every day. Playing Classical music made them smarter! Dr. Albert Einstein was able to win his Noble Peace Prize and make his scientific discoveries by playing Classical music on his violin or piano every day. Dr. Judith Resnik astronaut and electrical engineer made perfect scores on her SAT’s through playing her Classical piano music every day for one hour. Louis Armstrong learned Classical music on his cornet at age 13 and his life was changed forever! Your students can be smarter too by playing Classical music every day!

6) Involve your students in your course by posing a problem and helping them solve it! Make them into detectives. (Sherlock Holmes and his side kick Dr. Watson) Help your students work cooperatively. (In a musical String Quartet, members work together cooperatively with set goals and without violence.) Put on your Classical music to help your students concentrate better.

Mark Reimer & Mrs. Adlyn Reimer said to “Set the tone from the beginning—your class/rehearsal style is fun, informative, and fast moving, and everyone there is important to you.”

7)  Help your students gain self-esteem and self-worth by showing them kindness & patience.

8) Romayne Leader Frank, Mother, friend, Family Advocate, teacher, & Lawyer, always said, “Every child has one gift.” Find that gift and accentuate it!

9) Dr. Frank’s favorite saying is “every student is a gem in the raw.” Start with that thought and work with your students. Believe that each of your students, on the first day of school, wants to learn your course and desires to learn.

10)  Does anyone here like to work? No, then make it fun to learn. Put on your Classical music or Baroque music string music! © 2022 Madeline Frank

Remember on your First Day To: 

Have your Classical music/ Mozart Symphonies on your CD or iPod before your students enter your class to improve their concentration, for them to stay focused, relaxed, work faster, and remember more. On your first day of school have your “First Day of School Script” ready and rehearsed. “Have your “bell work” or short assignments posted on the board prior to the start of each day and post a daily agenda every day in the same place.” Be prepared! Have a smile on your face and put your best foot forward!

Students: Classical music has the power to organize the brain while listening to it as background music while you are doing your homework, to help you relax after a hard day of work or while doing exercises. Begin listening or playing your musical instrument for 30 minutes at a time. It helps because of its highly developed mathematics, complex rhythm, and therefore exercises the brain as physical exercise exercises the body.

Mrs. Becky Jenkins Irons, our Radio Shows 2016 Teacher of the Year Award winner, a fourth-grade teacher, shares below how she prepared and worked with her students during her August-December public school classes.”

1) Mrs. Irons began preparing for her new students, a month before the semester began, by studying their files, to more effectively deal with their problems.

2) On the very first day of school, students were informed about procedures and practiced them.

3) Mrs. Irons dressed appropriately and at times dressed to reflect the theme of the lesson or story.

4) Mrs. Irons prepared daily so that time was spent on learning activities and not preparation during school time.

5) She encourages her students to do well and gives examples that students can relate to of why it is important to do well and stay in school.

6) Students know that Mrs. Irons take’s an interest in them and tries to see the good in each student and looks for positive things to say about her students.

7) Classical music is played. This helps students quiet down, stay calm, and focus more on their work with fewer distractions. They really enjoy the Classical music and ask for it.

8) Students are spoken to in private, concerning behavioral issues and are not embarrassed in front of other students.

9) Cooperative learning groups and differentiation are used in the classroom. Students get to be a part of completing tasks successfully as a group in a fun but challenging atmosphere.

10) Articulation, inflection, and timing are encouraged when reading and when learning key phrases and clues.

Mrs. Irons says, “That by using Dr. Frank’s tips, a classroom environment is created where students want to come to school. They enjoy learning, and every child finds a measure of success.”

 “From Harpist to Music Therapist: Singaporean Tells Why She Made Career Switch During Covid-19 Pandemic” (June 25, 2022) by Eveline Gan.

Ms. Karen Koh as a harpist has performed “with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, at five-star hotels here and with the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour, which is the official full-orchestra concert of the Kingdom Hearts video game’s soundtrack.” She is training to be an accredited music therapist.  Presently she’s doing her internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bukit Batok. She has been working to help patients suffering with Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and other diseases.  Ms. Koh sings, plays the piano, guitar, lever harp, and several small percussion instruments during her music therapy sessions. She enjoys helping patients improve and having them participate in their music therapy session. Ms. Koh said, “One of the “magic secrets” of using music as a form of therapy is its ability to excite and motivate patients.” 
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:
Download Your Copy Today!  Amazon | iTunes |
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 happy month of August 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, an amazon.com best-selling 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) 2022 Madeline Frank