March is “Music in Our Schools Month” so inspire, encourage, and motivate your students by putting Mozart Symphonies on in the background of your classroom to improve your students concentration and discipline.
Our March blog and radio show celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Fred Astaire, dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, presenter on television, husband, father, grandfather and musician.
Included are two articles on the power of music for health and fitness. Our article of the month is “From Socks Filled With Rags to Winning Championships: Leadership and Life With John Wooden” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
Radio Show Feature Question for March 2017: How did Classical Music play a part of Fred Astaire’s life as an American Dancer, Singer, Actor, Choreographer, Musician, and Television Presenter and what musical instruments did he play?
On May 10, 1899 Frederic Austerlitz II, Fred Astaire, was born to Johanna “Ann” (née Geilus ) and Frederic “Fritz” Austerlitz in Omaha , Nebraska. Fred’s father came to New York City ‘s Ellis Island at the age of 24, passed inspection and moved to Omaha where he worked as a brewer for Storz Brewing Company. He was born in Linz, Austria. Fred’s mother was born in the United States to Lutheran German immigrants and was living in Omaha, Nebraska.
Fred’s older sister Adele studied dance and voice and was a naturally gifted dancer. Their mother wanted Fred to take dance lessons too, to be part of “a brother and sister act”. Fred at first refused, but imitated Adele’s steps. He studied “piano, accordion, and clarinet”. Later he studied singing and played the drums. Adele was 8 and Fred was 5 when they began dancing together. Their partnership lasted 27 years. They studied and worked hard.
Hard work and discipline
In 1905, the Austerlitz family moved to New York City for Adele and Fred to study at the “Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.” Their father, Fritz, settled them in New York City and returned to work in Omaha at the Brewery. They lived with their mother, Ann, in a room they rented at a local boarding house near the school. They shared a bathroom down the hall with other residents and ate meals downstairs. Ann taught them in the morning grammar, history, mathematics, and geography. At 2pm they would study dancing, speaking, singing, and acting at “Alviene Master School”. By 1917, their mother changed their last name to Astaire.
They had dinner at 6pm and Ann would, every night have them say their prayers and read to them for half an hour from the bible and other books. Bedtime was 8pm.
When Adele and Fred debuted their act in Keyport, New Jersey, the newspaper said, “The Astaire’s are the greatest child act in vaudeville.” Adele and Fred’s father Fritz landed his children a contract to play at the Orpheum Circuit and in other United States cities.
Ann took Adele and Fred to see the best dance, theater, and musical productions of the day. They saw performances with Ethel Barrymore, Lillie Langtry, Anna Pavlova, George M. Cohan, Ziegfeld Follies and others.
When Adele grew several inches taller than Fred, they had Fred wear a top hat to gain some height. Fred and Adele continued studying and learning tap, waltzes, tangos, and ballroom dancing. Their dancing was inspired by Bubbles Sublett, “Bojangles” Robinson, and Vernon and Irene Castle.
When Fred was 14, he took on the responsible for the music they would use during their show. He was looking for new musical works that they could dance to. At Jerome Remick’s Publishing Company, Fred met 15 year old, George Gershwin, playing the piano to pitch other composers songs as a song “plugger”. Fred and George “vowed” they would work together in future. Fred and Adele in 1922 did a show called “For Goodness’ Sake” that had a few songs written by George and Ira Gershwin. They later headlined in George and Ira Gershwin’s show “Lady Be Good” (1924) and “Funny Face” (1927). Their last show together was “The Band Wagon” by George Kaufman and Howard Dietz in 1931. The show ran for 260 performances. Fred and Adele stared in 11 musicals together.
Fred Astaire next dance partner was Claire Luce. They danced in Cole Porter’s “Gay Divorce”, (1932) “his last stage musical.” This was the year he did a screen test for RKO pictures. David O. Selznick said, “the dancer’s charm was tremendous, even though he had ”enormous ears and a bad chin line.”
In 1933, Fred Astaire was in “Dancing Lady”, “his first movie” at RKO Pictures with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable. Astaire appeared that same year with Ginger Rogers in “Flying Down to Rio”. Other marvelous pictures that Astaire and Rogers worked together for RKO were “Top Hat”, “Swing Time”, “Roberta”, and “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.”
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers worked together for 10 movies (1933-1949). Nine movies were for RKO and one movie was for MGM,“The Barkleys of Broadway”.
Fred Astaire worked in television “with Barrie Chase as his partner” in the mid-1950s producing “four award-winning musical specials.” Astaire as an actor did eight films from 1959 through 1982 and acted “on television.”
Fred Astaire played piano in “From the Fleet, “Let’s Dance” and in the film “I Won’t Dance”. He was a talented and marvelous jazz pianist.
Fred Astaire as a drummer was ingenious and exceptional. “Damsel in Distress”:
Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, television presenter, husband, father, grandfather and life long musician. He died at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, California on June 22, 1987.
From Socks Filled With Rags to Winning Championships: Leadership and Life With John Wooden by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
Where did it all begin for Coach John Wooden? Who were his most important teachers and role models?
Whether you are a basketball fan or not; Wooden’s life lessons will help you navigate the turbulant waters of life and relationships.
John Robert Wooden was an All-American basketball player, coach, and teacher, and is the winning-est coach of all time. He won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row.
Role Models For Success
When John Wooden was 8 years old, he and his older brother, and his parents, Joshua “Hugh” Wooden and Roxie Rothrock Wooden moved to a farm in Centerton, Indiana. Later, two younger brothers were born. Coach Wooden spoke of the gentle and loving way his parents interacted and the fact that his father’s favorite Abraham Lincoln quote was, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
It was a difficult life but a good one
The Wooden’s didn’t have much money during John’s childhood, “We had no electricity, plumbing or conveniences, and for entertainment Dad read books to us in the evening by the light of a coal-oil lamp… For my brothers and me, growing up on that little farm in Centerton was almost perfect.”… It was “a hard good life.” (“My Personal Best” by John Wooden & Steve Jamison)
John’s mother, Roxie, made all their clothes, washed them by hand, and cooking all their meals from the products they grew on the farm. When the Wooden boys expressed a desire to play basketball, but the family didn’t have the money to purchase one; Roxie created basketballs for her sons by stitching socks together and filling them with old rags. John’s father, Hugh, made a basket for his sons from knocking out the bottom of a tomato basket and nailing “it to the hayloft in the barn.” (“My Personal Best” by John Wooden & Steve Jamison)
Coach Wooden taught life skills needed for a successful life to his students, coaches, family members, and others for over 70 years. He developed his “Pyramid of Success” over a 14 year period, 1934- 1948 by identifying 25 behaviors he believed were necessary to achieve his idea of success.
Modeling behaviors for a successful marriage
Hugh and Roxie Wooden modeled the behavior they wanted to show their children. They had a long and loving marriage. They were married for 45 years until Hugh Wooden died. John Wooden and his wife Nell Wooden had a loving happy marriage also. They were married for 53 years until Nell died. Coach Wooden continued to write his wife love letters every month after her death.
Reading to your children
Coach Wooden said, “I can just see my dad as I see you, if I close my eyes. By the shores of Gitche Gumee, / by the shining Big-Sea-Water, / stood the wigwam of Nokomis, / daughter of the moon Nokomis… Upon completing the verse by Longfellow, Wooden opened his eyes. “We had no electricity, no running water.”
Coach Wooden said, “My Father, Hugh Wooden, tried to get his ideas across, maybe not in so many words, but by action. He walked it.”
“Hugh didn’t lecture his boys so much as he sprinkled seeds along their paths.” (“Wooden: A Coaches Life” by Seth Davis)
“7 Things to Do” for a successful life
“When John Wooden graduated from grade school”
his father gave him a small hand written card with his “7 Things to Do” and his “Two Sets of 3” with a short poem by Reverend Henry Van Dyke and a two dollar bill. Joshua “Hugh” Wooden wanted to guide his sons by giving them a “moral compass and a powerful foundation”. Coach Wooden kept it in his wallet to read it. These words he lived by for his 99 years on earth. These were Coach Wooden’s “core principles” of his life, which he shared with his students, coaches, family, and others for over seven decades.
Discipline and hard work
On the Wooden farm, John Wooden learned “the habits of discipline and hard work.” Farm chores and studying were a priority in the Wooden household.
Joshua Hugh Wooden’s “7 Things to Do” later Coach Wooden called it his “7 Point Creed”.
- “Be true to yourself.”
- “Help others.”
- “Make each day your masterpiece.”
- “Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.”
- “Make friendship a fine art.”
- “Build a shelter against a rainy day.”
- “Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.”
Coach John Wooden’s parents, Hugh and Roxy Wooden were his most important teachers. They showed him by example how to have a loving home, to respect others, how to work hard with enthusiasm, and gave him a moral compass to live by.
Coach Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”
Coach Wooden’s first cornerstone of his “Pyramid of Success” is “Industriousness”. He says, “There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.”
The second cornerstone of Coach’s “Pyramid of Success is “Enthusiasm”. Coach Wooden says, “Having enjoyment and love for your task, job, or profession”. When we enjoy and love what we are doing, we work harder with more energy, are more focused and productive working with enthusiasm.
Coach Wooden’s father Joshua “Hugh” Wooden’s “7 Point Creed” and “Two Sets of Three” are words of timeless wisdom for you to live by just like Coach Wooden, his family, his students, and coaches have for over 70 years. © 2017 Madeline Frank
Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Symposium Highlights Music In Brain Health And Therapy” (Feb. 2, 2017) from the Charlotte County Florida Weekly. “Research and evidence-based clinical practice have demonstrated the effectiveness of music toward the development and maintenance of brain health across the span of one’s life. Formal music therapy can be helpful in rehabilitation programs for many individuals — including those who have experienced a stroke, are experiencing cognitive difficulties related to dementia, or who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.”
On Feb. 9, 2017 they had a “Positive Aging Symposium on Music and Mindfulness” with experts “ Dr. Edward Roth, MM, MT-BC, of Western Michigan University, and Roxana Duren, EdD, LMHC, of Bayfront Health Medical Group.”
“Effects Of Music, Dancing On Fitness” (Feb. 4, 2017) The Herald.
Choose the right music to move by and dance to, to improve your health.
“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now 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 now 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!
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 St. Patricks’ 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 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) 2017 Madeline Frank.