Our blog and Radio Show celebrates the extraordinary life of Emily Dickinson, poet and musician. Included is an article on using music to improve academic skills. Our article of the month is “First Watch Is First Class” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.

Radio Show Feature Question for April 2018:

How did music play a part of Emily Dickinson’s life as a Poet and Musician, and what musical instrument did she play?



Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts to Edward Dickinson, lawyer and trustee of Amherst College and his wife, Emily Norcross Dickinson, the oldest of nine children. Emily Dickinson’s mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson was well educated at co-educational Monson Academy, which her father and Joel Norcross helped found and she attended a boarding school in New Haven, Connecticut.

Edward Dickinson’s father Samuel Dickinson, Emily’s grandfather, was one of the founders of Amherst College. Emily was close to her older brother, William Austin Dickinson, and younger sister Lavinia Norcross Dickinson.

Visit to Aunt Lavinia:

When Emily was two years old her family visited Aunt Lavinia in Monson.

Aunt Lavinia said of Emily, she is “perfectly well and contented—She is a very good child and but little trouble.” She also “noted Emily’s affinity for music and her particular talent for the piano, which she called “the moosic“.

Emily Dickinson wrote, “I attend singing school.” Emily enjoyed being a part of “the singing school with its repertoire of church hymns, carols, and anthems,”.


Emily wrote to her friend Abiah Root, “I have the same Instruction book that you have, Bertini’s, “Method for the Piano-forte” and I am getting along in it very well. Aunt Selby says she shan’t let me have many tunes now for she wants I should get over in the book a good ways first… I have been learning several beautiful pieces lately.”

Emily wrote, “I can improvise better at night.”: “Emily Dickinson was known by family and neighbors to be an expert improviser at the piano. Her cousin John Graves when visiting his cousins would stay overnight, and be awakened ..   by Emily’s “heavenly music.” Emily’s cousin Clara Newman Turner said that “before seating herself at the piano Emily covered the upper and lower octaves so that the length of the keyboard might correspond to that of the old-fashioned instrument on which she had learned to play.”

A Dickinson neighbor, MacGregor Jenkins, “noted in his memoir that: [Emily] went often across the lawn to her brother’s house. It was through him, and his handsome wife the “Sue” of her letters and messages, that she kept in touch with the life of her circle, and to a considerable extent with the village and the world. It was here that she would fly to the piano, if the mood required, and thunder out a composition of her own which she laughingly but appropriately called “The Devil,” and when her father came, lantern in hand, to see that she reached home in safety, she would elude him and dart through the darkness to reach home before him. This was pure mischief and there was much of it in her.”

Emily Dickinson collected over one hundred pieces of music which are in the “Dickinson Collection at Harvard University”. She, her sister Lavinia, and their cousin collected music and enjoyed performing. Published copies of these works can also be found “in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.”  

Emily and her family enjoyed attending concerts by Jenny Lind, Germania Musical Society, and others. Emily wrote, “How we all loved Jenny Lind.” The Dickinson family servants enjoyed making music and Emily listened and learned from them.


Emily Dickinson’s Education: Emily was “an excellent student” at Amherst Academy for seven years. It is now called Amherst College. She “then attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for a year.”

Writing Poetry: Emily Dickinson as a teenager started writing poetry. The principal of Amherst Academy, Leonard Humphrey was one of Emily’s “early influencers for writing poetry”. Benjamin Franklin Newton, a family friend sent Emily, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book of poetry. Emily visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to befriend Charles Wadsworth, a minister who became “a cherished correspondent”.

During Emily Dickinson’s lifetime one letter and 10 of her poems were published.   https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/publications_lifetime

Emily wrote her poem “Musicians wrestle everywhere” at the   beginning of the Civil War Emily in the early 1860s. She shared her joy of music in the “musical metaphors” she used in her poetry.       http://www.poetry.net/poem/11955

Emily’s study of Botany: Emily Dickinson during her spare time, studied botany producing a vast herbarium. She also corresponded with her many friends and contacts.

Emily Dickinson died in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 15, 1886 at the age of 55. Her sister Lavinia discovered almost 1800 poems that her sister Emily Dickinson had written. She approached friends, sister -in-law Susan Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and later Mabel Loomis Todd to help her publish Emily’s poems. Emily Dickinson’s first volume of poetry was published four years after her death. Today “The Homestead” where Emily Dickinson was born has become a Museum. Emily Dickinson is considered to be one of the greatest and most original America “poets of all time”. She was also a lifelong musician.


First Watch Is First Class by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Does your favorite restaurant give “first class” service? What three traits do you look for in your employees and where do you find them?

First Watch restaurant began serving breakfast and lunch in 1983 from 7am to 2:30 pm and is privately owned and has franchises. In 2015 there were 153 franchise restaurants in 18 states. Last weekend my husband and I met our family for breakfast at First Watch at 9 am in Newport News, VA. It was our fifth time at First Watch. We put our name on a wait list where there were thirty-one people in front of us in an already packed restaurant with happy customers eating breakfast. They had coffee set up for folks waiting to get in and several chairs and coaches to sit on.

With the thirty-one-people waiting, the wait staff used military precision to put the tables together and get the first twenty-five people seated and waited on, and then the other groups. They were prepared and did not leave anything to chance. They practiced and rehearsed to address these issues multiple times and were ready as their guests finished eating to immediately clean and reset the tables and get the new guests seated.

Twenty-five servicemen were a head of us. They were seated at 4 tables the staff quickly put together with silverware glasses, etc. They were then seated. Two waiters walked around and took orders. Meanwhile another party of six was also set up and were led to their table. Then it was our turn. We were seated by 9:15am and led to our table. The hostess saw the food on the chairs and went and got a soapy rag to clean it off.

We sat down and the table was set with everything you can think of. The energetic waiter came over with a smile and asked what beverages we wanted and also took our order for omelets, pancakes with vegetables and fruit. Our beverages arrived a few minutes later. Our waiter put a fresh pot of coffee and a pot of decaf on the table. Another waiter came by with a pitcher of water. Fifteen minutes later our hot breakfast arrived even though the restaurant continued to fill up with many waiting to be seated and served.

Every few minutes the waiter came by to check on us and asked if we wanted more coffee, juice, or any other beverages and asked how the food was.

Next to our table the customers had left and a different waiter cleared the table, wiped it off, and another brought clean silver ware, napkins, and cups.

First Watch’s wait staff cared and wanted to do a good job! The service staff was well rehearsed and attentive to details like a choreographed ballet. Everything was intentional. Nothing was left to chance.

What three things did the First Watch waiters and waitresses do to show their customers “First Class” service?

1) The waiters and waitresses had a positive attitude, smiled at their customers, and worked quickly and efficiently.

2) The wait staff immediately removed the dirty dishes after their customers left the table, then wiped the table, and set up the table with everything their customers needed.

3) Waiters /waitresses worked as a team. One brought a pitcher of ice tea or water; another brought coffee, another soda, another brought the food. Next to our table the customers had left and a different waiter cleared the table and cleaned it off, another brought the silver ware, napkins, and cups.

Don’t leave your customer service to chance. Plan your customer service expectations in advance and rehearse how you want it to be done with your staff. Your standards for hiring are clear.

What three traits do you look for in your employees?

1) You hire staff who have a proven track record for positive attitudes, are energetic, and are effective communicators who are passionate about the products you sell.

2) You hire staff that have a good work ethic (show up on time), are patient, and listen to what their customers need and want, and they work efficiently and pay attention to the details.

3) Your staff have a leadership service attitude, work well as a team with military precision, and are willing to pitch in when the need arises just as the hostess was willing to clean off the food on the chairs.

Where do you find your employees?

Keep your eyes and ears open for excellent team members for your business. Look for new opportunities.

First Watch has first class service every time we visit. To have “First Class” customer service just like “First Watch” at your business, follow their model and rehearse and practice with your team members.    http://EzineArticles.com/9886828

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


 “Music Based Learning Helps’ Test Scores Soar” by Candese Charles (March 1, 2018) from Fox TV West Michigan. “The program uses music to enhance literacy skills.” Michelle Patterson, Mind Meets Music Senior Master Teaching Artist, says, “It’s just remarkable how the teachers will tell me that they are making so much progress academically, as well as in our program. We see the correlation is very strong.”  Five years ago, “Dr. Monique Salinas, noticed her choir group having problems writing thank you notes”. That’s when she founded the program, ‘Mind Meets Music’.



 “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 April 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.