Our Radio Show and blog celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Dr. William Withering, English medical doctor who discovered digitalis, botanist, chemist, geologist, musician, husband and father.

Our article of the month is “Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership Lesson” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.

Included are two articles on how listening to classical music in the background of a school classroom improves students concentrate and focus on their work. Becky Jenkins Irons was our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”. Our Radio Show’s 2015 “Teachers’ Lifetime Achievement Award” winner was Jeanne Golner.

Radio Show Feature Question for December 2018: How did classical music play a part

of Dr. William Withering’s life as an English medical doctor, botanist, chemist, geologist, and musician and what musical instruments did he play?



William Withering was born in Wellington, England in March 17, 1741. His father was a surgeon. William began playing harpsichord and flute at an early age and enjoyed playing music. (Schillian & Schoen, 1948, p.199)

Medical School: William Withering in 1762 moved to Edenborough, Scotland to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1766 .



He moved back to England in 1767, establishing a private practice and working as a consultant at the Stafford Royal Infirmary.

Marriage and Children: In 1772, he married Helena Cookes, a talented botanical illustrator. They had two children who survived childhood, William was born in 1776, and Charlotte in 1778. His son William was later to become a doctor and continue his father’s work.

Physician at Birmingham General Hospital: In 1775, he was appointed as a physician at Birmingham GeneralHospital. PhysicianErasmus Darwin recommended him for theposition. Dr. Withering worker there for 17 years.

Botany Research: Dr. Withering published in 1776 “The botanical arrangement of all the vegetables naturally growing in Great Britain”, ” an early and influential British Flora . It was the first in English based on the then new Linnaean Taxonomy  — a classification of all living things — devised by the eminent Swedish botanist and physician Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778).”



Dr. Withering’s wife Helena Cookes Withering illustrated the “plants he collected”.


While doing his pioneering research on “identification of fungi ”, Dr. Withering “invented a folding pocket microscope for use on botanical field trips. He also introduced to the general audience the screw down plant press  and the vasculum  .” 11



Tuberculosis: Dr. Withering diagnosed himself in1783 as having pulmonary tuberculosis  and went twice to Portugal hoping the better winter climate would improve his health; it did not.”



Discovery of Digitalis & Becomes Member of Royal Society: After observing a patient with dropsy, “swelling from congestive heart failure”, Dr. Withering prescribed, a traditional herbal remedy, that included the foxglove plant, known as digitalis today. He wrote down the notes from his clinical trials “on digitalis’s effects and toxicity.”



Dr. Withering published his findings in his book “An Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses”  published in 1785, he  “discussed 158 patients whom he treated with the foxglove. Of these, 101 patients with congestive heart failure experienced relief following administration of the drug, today known as digitalis after the Latin name for the plant, Digitalis purpureaAn analysis of Withering’s individual case reports published by Estes and White suggests that many of the 57 other cases, such as those with pulmonary tuberculosis, did not involve diseases amenable to treatment with digitalis. Withering himself was aware that these factors might be affecting his results and warned against generalizing on the basis of his cases.”




Geologist: Dr. Withering “conducted a series of experiments on Terra Ponderosa, a heavy ore from Cumberland , England. He deduced that it contained a hitherto undescribed element which he was unable to characterize. It was later shown to be barium carbonate  and in 1789 the eminent German geologist  Abraham Gottlob Werner named the mineral  Witherite in his honor. (18)”



Chemist: Dr. Withering analyzed the mineral content of spa waters in England, Portugal, and abroad. In 1793 to 1794, during the winter in Portugal, he analyzed the “mineral content at Caldas da Rainha .”  For his work he was elected  “to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Portugal.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Withering#cite_note-Russ-20


Dr. William Withering was an English Medical Doctor who discovered digitalis, a botanist, chemist, geologist, lifelong musician, husband, and father. He was dedicated to helping others and saving lives. Dr. William Withering died on October 6, 1799.



 Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership Lesson by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” What one thing do you want to change in your life to improve it?

In the 1930s a mother and her young son walked for many hours in the hot sun and waited in a long line to “have an audience with Mahatma Gandhi”.

She had tried many times to stop her son from eating sweets. Nothing she said stopped him from eating the sweets. So, she decided to take him to see his hero, Mahatma Gandhi.

When it was their turn to finally speak to Mahatma Gandhi. The mother said, “Mahatma, please tell my son he must stop eating sweets. It is ruining his health, his teeth, and affects his mood every time he eats sweets. There is nothing I can do to stop him from eating more and more sweets. I’m afraid it will ruin his life. Please, Mahatma, tell him to stop.”

Gandhi listened patiently to the mother looking at the young child, as he cowered by his mother’s side. Gandhi said, “Come back to me in two weeks’ time.”

The mother was disappointed and confused that Gandhi had not asked her son to just “stop eating sweets”. She and her son walked the long journey home.

Two weeks later, the mother and young son walked in the hot sun many miles to once again stand in line to wait their turn to speak to Mahatma Gandhi. When it was their turn, the mother said, “We have returned. We came to see you two weeks ago to help my boy to stop eating sweets, and you asked us to come back after two weeks.”

Two weeks later Gandhi said, “I remember.” Motioning for the boy to come forward. He said, “Come here, child.”

The child urged by his mother, moved away from her and moved slowly towards Gandhi. Gandhi reached over and “put his hands on the boy’s shoulders”, pulling him closer and looking the child squarely in the eyes said, “Don’t eat sweets.”.

The mother said, “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say? Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago?”

Gandhi replied, “Because two weeks ago I was still eating sweets myself. I could not ask him to stop eating sweets so long as I had not stopped either.”

Gandhi was a man of honor and character. As a leader he had to change his bad habit to a good one and model the right behavior before asking anyone to change their behavior.

As a leader, what one thing can you change and model for your family, friends, and team members that will make a difference at home and at work?   © 2018 Madeline Frank

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


Teachers have used classical music in the background of their classrooms with great success:   

Jeanne Golner was our Radio Shows 2015  “Teachers’ Lifetime Achievement Award” winner for advancing the knowledge of young students in elementary school, in grades 2, 4, & 5.  She taught for 30 years in the public schools of Virginia, Florida, and Boston. She encouraged and inspired her students to succeed in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies giving them a legacy to follow for their future.” Jeanne Golner said  , “I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives making a difference.”

Mrs. Golner said, “I had my fifth-grade students listening to classical music, played softly, while the children did creative writing assignments and when they did problem solving in math. It created a calm atmosphere conducive to problem solving and creative thinking as well as an appreciation of music that they might not have experienced. The results were so good that I incorporated this into my teaching for the last five years of my teaching career.”

To hear Jeanne Golner’s Feature Question for May 2008: Jeanne Golner how did you use classical music in your classes to teach math, science, and writing to your fifth-grade students and what were the results?



Our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”, Mrs. Becky Jenkins Irons  is a master teacher, award-winning Gymnast, award winning dancer, wife, mother of five children, pianist, singer and choral conductor. Mrs. Irons has taught for 14 years in the Public schools of Baldwin City, Kansas, York County, Virginia, and Norfolk, Virginia.  She has taught kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. She teaches reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Mrs. Irons after school teaches dance classes in Norfolk, Hampton, and in Yorktown.

Mrs. Irons said, “As soon as the classical music is turned on, my students have a noticeable change in their behavior.  They calm down and talk less.  Not only do I play classical music in my regular classroom but also during summer school classes to first through sixth-grade students as they come into my classroom. Some of these students, with behavior and attention problems, calm down quickly as they listen to the music and get started on their morning work.  The students even ask for me to turn on the music when I don’t have it on.  A few summers back, I had an administrator walk in and comment on how they couldn’t believe how quiet and focused the students were and said that they should try playing music at their home school.  Every summer, that I have played the music, these students have improved their scores from pretest to posttest by 30-50%, which is an amazing amount for a five-week program, covering an entire year of curriculum.  The students in my regular classroom have met their end-of-the-year goals every year, and I have also seen great improvement.”

To hear Becky Jenkins Irons Radio Show Interview for June 2016:

Becky Jenkins Irons is our “Radio Show’s 2016 Teacher of the Year”. Mrs. Irons, can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students? 



To read Mrs. Becky Jenkins Irons 2016 Teacher of the Year Blog:



Turning In: Hospital Therapy Reaches Patients Through Song (Nov. 6, 2018) by Bruce Tomaso.  “According to a study published in 2015  in Progress in Brain Research, a scientific journal, making and listening to familiar music ” are powerful tools to engage multi-sensory and motor networks [in the brain], induce changes within these networks and foster links between distant but functionally related brain regions.”



“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 Chanukah and a Merry Christmas 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) 2018 Madeline Frank.