Our Blog and Radio Show celebrate the life and work of Henry David Thoreau. His most famous writings were “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience”. The article of the month is “Leadership Lessons from George Bailey” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. Also included are articles on how classical music calms you down at work and how your brain responds to music.

Radio Show Feature Question for December 2015: How did Classical Music play a part of Henry David Thoreau’s life as an author, poet, naturalist, philosopher, abolitionist, historian, surveyor, educator, and musician and what musical instrument did he play?


Our blog celebrates the life and work of Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet, naturalist, philosopher, abolitionist, historian, surveyor, educator, and musician.

On July 12, 1817, Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts to John and Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau. Henry’s father John was a shopkeeper and later had a pencil making business. John played the flute and passed his joy of playing the flute on to his son Henry. Henry was a life long flutist who played on it wherever he was. Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau, Henry’s mother, was the daughter of Asa Dunbar who as a student in Harvard led the “Butter Rebellion”, a student protest in 1766. Cynthia to make ends meet took boarders in to their home.

Henry’s older siblings Helen, and John, Jr. became schoolteachers and his youngest sister’s name was Sophia. Henry was known as a “bright” student and it was decided that he would go to Harvard at the age of 16 in 1833 like his mother, Cynthia’s father Asa Dunbar. Henry’s family helped to pay for his Harvard tuition. His Mom contributed “her emergency fund”, his aunt contributed, as did his older sibling. Henry also won a scholarship. It cost $179 a year to attend Harvard in 1833. In 1835 Henry contracted tuberculosis and had to leave school to improve his health. Tuberculosis would continue to haunt him throughout his life. He also left a second time to earn money for his Harvard tuition by teaching public school in Canton, Massachusetts. While there Henry met the Transcendentalist clergyman, Orestes Brownson.

Henry when he returned to Harvard heard Ralph Waldo Emerson’s lecture on his book “Nature” which discussed transcendentalism. The belief “in the importance of intuition, of the divine spirit uniting all souls, and that true revelation and insight could only take place in nature, where things were most pure.”


Emerson introduced Henry to his friends, Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Ellery Channing ,Nathaniel Hawthorne and his son Julian. Emerson suggested Henry start writing in a journal. On Oct. 22, 1837, Henry began writing in his journal and changed his name from David Henry to Henry David Thoreau. His family and friends had always called him Henry. (The name he was born with was David Henry Thoreau).

Henry taught at the Concord Public School after graduating Harvard. When he was asked by the head of the school to “administer corporal punishment” he resigned.


In 1838  Henry Thoreau opened his “private day and boarding school”. Henry Thoreau took his classes on field trips, to archeological sites, on nature walks, surveying, and visiting businesses and shops. The school prospered and Henry’s older brother John joined him as a teacher. They continued the school for three years. Louisa May Alcott, the later author of “Little Women”, was one of Henry Thoreau’s students. She was 7 years old at the time and Henry Thoreau was 23. Louisa May Alcott wrote in her book “Moods” about Thoreau’s classroom in the woods where he taught his students about birds, flowers, deer tracks, showing them a fox den, how he fed a chipmunk out of his hand, and how to gather lichens. She also wrote how Thoreau would take his students on a history lesson on his boat, the Musketquid, floating down the Sudbury and Assabet rivers passing the American Revolution battlefield where “he explained how the farmers had defended themselves against the redcoats.”

In 1842 John “died in Henry’s arms” after contracting tetanus as he cut “himself while shaving”. After John’s death Henry closed his school.


From 1842-1844, Henry Thoreau worked for Emerson tutoring his children, working as an editorial assistant for the publication the Dial, contributing essays and poems, working as a gardener, and repairman.

In 1845, Henry was invited by Ralph Waldo Emerson to build Walden Pond, Henry’s cabin in the woods on Emerson’s land. He lived there for two years studying nature, “growing his own food”. On Sundays “the Emerson’s and Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott)” would come and visit Henry. While at Walden Pond, Henry Thoreau wrote his book “A Week On the Concord and Merrimac Rivers” about the boat and hiking trip he and his older brother John took from Concord, Massachusetts.


Louisa May Alcott was a Civil War Nurse in Washington, DC when Henry David Thoreau died at 44 years of age on May 6, 1862 in Concord, Massachusetts. She wrote a poem called “Thoreau’s Flute” in his honor. It was said that she was in love with Henry Thoreau and she modeled several of her characters in her books on Henry David Thoreau.



Henry David Thoreau said, When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

Leadership Lessons from George Bailey” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

What leadership traits does George Bailey exhibit in the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life”? On the opposite side of the spectrum what kind of a leader is Henry Potter, “The richest man in town”? 

The film begins by introducing us to the leader George will become. George at the age of 12 saves the life of his younger brother Harry when Harry falls “through the ice”. George becomes ill on that day and permanently loses his “hearing in one ear”. George has a part time job working for a pharmacist. While making up a prescription, the pharmacist reads a telegram informing him that his son has suddenly died. He is heart broken, not thinking clearly and accidentally uses poison in the prescription. George, 12 years old, reads the telegram and sees the poison open on the pharmacist’s table and realized the pharmacist has used poison in the prescription and tells him.

George at this young age shows respect, character, honor, integrity, dependability, and accountability. Everything we would want in our children, family members, and in our employees.

After high school graduation, George works at the Bailey Building & Loan and waits for his younger brother Harry to graduate high school so Harry can replace George at the Company. George plans to travel and go to college. He has saved his money. When George’s father suddenly dies right after Harry’s high school graduation party, George gives up his dream of traveling and works with the board of directors at his father’s Building & Loan Company. Potter wants to close the Company so he can have the towns people rent his slum housing. George explains that his father’s Building & Loan Company gives the towns people the opportunity to own their own homes and take pride in them unlike what Potter is offering in his slum housing.

The board of directors said they will close the Company and let Potter take over the town if George does not continue to run the Company. The board of directors likes and trusts George.

George sacrifices his dream of going to college to keep the Company open to continue helping the townspeople. He gives his college money to his brother, Harry. Harry promises to come and take over when he graduates college.

While Harry is at college, George is building up the Company by building beautiful affordable homes with reasonably priced mortgages for the people of Bedford Falls in Bailey Park. George cares about the people in his town and as a leader, listens to them, respects them, and inspires and motivates them.

Henry Potter, our scrooge character, is jealous of George’s success. The townspeople have moved out of Potter’s overpriced slum housing. At one point Potter wants George to work for him.

George is a true leader and an honorable man. Harry comes home after graduating college with a new wife. His new father-in-law has offered him a job. George gives up his dream for his brother.

George marries Mary and right after the wedding, Potter’s Bank calls for a loan payoff at Bailey Building & Loan Company. Potter wants to shut them down. There is a run on deposits at Bailey Building & Loan Company.

George and Mary are getting into a taxi to catch a train for their honeymoon with the $2,000 George has saved for them. He sees the doors closed at his Company and the people lined up. He goes into his Company to see what is happening and receives a call from Potter. Potter says he will give anyone that comes to him, 50 cents on a dollar, and that George has to keep his Company open till 6pm or Potter will shut down the Company.

George explains to the townspeople, who want to take all their money out of the Bailey Building & Loan Company that the money is in each their homes and they all signed to get their money back in 60 days.

Mary, George’s new wife of just minutes, is a wonderful young woman with the same leadership qualities that George has. She has strong family values, is honest, trustworthy, accountable, and reliable. She listens and loves and cares about George and the townspeople. Mary hands George the $2,000, he saved for their honeymoon. George pays out some of the money to the townspeople to keep the Company open till 6pm. They close the doors at 6pm with $2 left. Potter, the bully, has taken from George and Mary their honeymoon trip.

Mary fixes up an old leaky house with the help of friends so she and George will have a honeymoon with pictures of the cities they would have visited.

Potter is a relentless man with no honor and no character. He cares only about himself and not about the townspeople. Potter puts people down at every turn.

Zig Ziglar says, “Strong people don’t put other people down… they lift them up.”

George Bailey shows leadership throughout his life by lifting others up to make their dreams come true. He helps his brother Harry, Uncle Billy, the pharmacist, Violet, and many of the townspeople of Bedford Falls, New York to have happier lives because of the love and care he gives them.

During World War II George is doing his part for the town and his brother Harry has received the Medal of Honor for saving many soldiers lives.

Uncle Billy goes to deposit $8,000 from Bailey Building & Loan Company into Potter’s Bank. He sees Potter and brags about his nephew, Harry’s success and leaves the $8,000 wrapped in the newspaper he is showing Potter. Potter keeps the money, then calls the officials knowing he can finally close down Bailey Building & Loan Company.

George and Uncle Billy look for the missing $8,000. They cannot find it. George begs Potter for a loan to cover the missing money. Potter says no knowing he has the missing $8,000.

George is beside himself and decides to jump off a bridge and end it all. Clarence an angel comes down from heaven and pretends to have fallen so George will rescue him. Clarence then shows how the town would have been with Potter in control had George never been born.

George decides he wants to go back and live again and face the problem of the missing $8,000. He arrives at his house to find that Mary and Uncle Billy have collected $8,000 from the townspeople to cover the missing funds. Even the loan company examiner donates money!

George has listened, loved, helped, and cared for the towns people of Bedford Falls for many years to achieve their dreams. When the chips were down, the townspeople of Bedford Falls came through for George. They wanted to give back all that George had given to them.

Isn’t this what every leader wants from the people he or she leads and serves?

George Bailey showed how much he cared for the people of Bedford Falls, New York. Dr. John Maxwell says, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

George’s friend Sam Wainwright sends a telegram authorizing his company to give George up to $25,000.

Harry Bailey comes home and says, “To my big brother, George, the richest man in town.” Clarence, the angel, says, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

In the end George Bailey, the leader, understood that he had gotten his dream “to build something”. George had built the town of Bedford Falls into a beautiful place to live with happy families. He had helped build up every person in the town to reach their potential.

Dr. John Maxwell said, “There is no success without sacrifice. You have to give up to go up. The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself.”

What are the 3 things you learned about leadership from George Bailey?

1) George was willing to sacrifice his dreams to help others. He gives up his dream of traveling the world, of going to college, and building things in other places, to build the town of Bedford Falls, New York for the townspeople to have the best life possible.

Dr. John Maxwell said, “There is no success without sacrifice. You have to give up to go up. The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself.” (“The Law of Sacrifice’)

2) George was a man of character, honor, integrity, patience, family values, was accountable, reliable, listened to others, and cared about others. He was a problem solver. He built up Bailey Brothers Building & Loan by building Bailey Park, affordable homes for the townspeople. He helped others build their dreams. George cared about the people around him and wanted to help them get the best life possible. Great leaders have the same characteristics and values of George Bailey.

3) George Bailey showed how much he cared for the towns people of Bedford Falls. He always put other peoples needs first! Because he cared about others and helped them, when he was in trouble the townspeople stepped up and helped him by coming up with $8.000.

Dr. John Maxwell says, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Clarence, the angel, says, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

By following these three leadership characteristics of George Bailey you to will become a leader people will want to support and emulate. © 2015 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]

“How To Calm Yourself Down if You’re Stressed At Work” (Nov. 1, 2015) by Mollie Goodfellow from Independaent.co.uk/life. One of their suggestions for reducing stress is to “Listen to classical music”.


“What’s Happening in Your Brain and Body as You Listen to Music” (Nov. 3, 2015) by Melissa Bykofsky from Yahoo.com health. Listening to the right music improves your mood, helps you work better, helps you remember more, lowers bold pressure, and helps you exercise better. Their musical suggestions are Bach, Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi.


“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!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through amazon.com. Click on the following Amazon.com link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form.

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 25 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) 2015 Madeline Frank.