Music Makes Good Scientists: Madeline’s Monthly Article & Musical Tips Blog for November 2019 

Our blog/article and Radio Show asks, “How does studying a musical instrument make good scientists?”

Our article of the month is “Unlocking the Potential of  Your Brain by Discovering How to Think!” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.  Also included are two articles on how studying a musical instrument makes better scientists and medical doctors. A third article is included on amateur orchestras composed of scientists, medical doctors, medical specialists, and others continuing to play music together.

Radio Show Feature Question for November 2019: “How does studying a musical instrument make good scientists?”


“How does studying a musical instrument make good scientists?”

Many years ago, at a Virginia Tech conference on “Music in Human Adaptation” scientists and researchers gathered to share their work by giving lectures on their specialty. The titles of my two contribution lectures were “Music Makes Good Scientists” and “Music Stimulates the Brain”. (The latter title to be featured in next month’s blog and Radio Show.)

“Music Makes Good Scientists” was based on the research from my book “The Secret of Teaching Science and Math Through Music” published before the conference. My Mom, Romayne Leader Frank suggested the title names.


Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, engineers, teachers, and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Studying a musical instrument develops millions of new connections, synapses, between nerve cells in the brain.

Dr. Anton Pohringer, a scientist from Vienna specializing in the power of lightning bolts and a fine violinist, wrote asking if I would put together a string quartet so we could play a Mozart quartet together at his International Aerospace Conference held in Williamsburg, Virginia?  I wrote back I would be happy to do this! We played a rehearsal with Dr. Pohringer a few days before the concert. We had a marvelous time making music together.

Before the Conference, I called and found out the name of the head of the Conference. I asked him if I could give a one-minute speech on “Music, Science, and the Brain” and ask the conferees to fill out a short questionnaire on their musical studies as children? He said, “Of course!”

Of the 114 respondents, 75% were from the United States and 25% from Europe, Asia, and South America. Eighty percent had played musical instruments as children and 60% continued to play. I continued a similar study at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (formerly CEBAF), surveying 129 scientists, physicists, and engineers. Seventy nine percent played musical instruments as children, 66.7% played through high school, 60.8% played through college, and 57.8% continued to play.

Today throughout the United States and Europe, amateur orchestras composed of scientists, medical specialists, and others continue to play music together weekly to relax, recharge themselves, and have fun making music together. They also play regular concerts during the year. I have continued my research updating the book, “The Secret of Teaching Science and Math Through Music”, with monthly Radio Shows interviewing of scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, teachers, and others and writing blog/articles sharing this research.  It is all about studying and continuing to practice a musical instrument throughout life, to make a smarter and better thinking person that can help others to thrive.


Unlocking the Potential of  Your Brain by Discovering How to Think!” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.

I realize you are saying to yourself, “I already know how to think”.

In the next 2 minutes, you will discover one of the greatest strategies that has been practiced by the greatest thinkers who have ever lived.

When I was a student at the Juilliard School, one of my professors would assign a book or article for me to read each month. The professor would make a statement about the book and would ask me a question causing me to think about it. I also had to submit a short summary of what I had just read. I realized that his ultimate goal was to develop artists who were often great thinkers!

One of the people whom I was introduced to via these books was Dr. Gerald Edelman. Dr. Edelman studied the violin as a child and contemplated a career as a concert violinist. He decided to pursue a career in medicine and later won a Nobel Prize in 1972 for immunology work and in 1973 he began studying the human brain. He continued to perform in a series of classical music concerts at his Neurosciences Institute.

In Dr. Edelman’s book (1992) “Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On Matters of the Mind”, he said each of us has a “Darwinian Brain” that evolves with the stimulation you give it! For example: A young child taking violin lessons for 2 or more years will “develop and adapt strong neuronal connections enhancing their brain function.”

Professor Lincer also assigned “Awakenings” by Oliver Sacks, M.D., who wrote many books on his neurological case histories of his patients. He was a Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Sacks studied the piano as a boy and continued to play throughout his life.

He said “music has been the profoundest non-chemical medication for our patients. What we see, fundamentally, is the power of music to organize-and do this efficaciously as well as joyfully, when abstract or schematic forms of organization fail.”

Classical music has the power to organize the brain because of its complex rhythm.

Dr. Sacks had a patient suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. The patient “responded to ballroom music by taking his wife in his arms and looking into her eyes and dancing with her.”

One of his patients had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk. Dr. Sacks brought in an accordionist who played a familiar song, and the patient started to sing the song with him. Music has the power to stimulate memory. “Memory says Dr. Sacks, is the key to a sense of self” and music evokes emotion and emotion can bring its memory.”

I recognized there is a scientific link between studying musical instruments and academic and societal success. Studying a musical instrument develops millions of new connections, synapses, between nerve cells in the brain. Many of the world’s scientists, doctors, teachers, authors and mathematicians are also musicians.

Over the years Professor Lincer and I continued our conversations about the many books and articles he had me read. I have incorporated our discussions into several of my books, articles, radio shows, and blogs over the last twenty plus years and also, at his urging, had a dialogue with both Dr. Oliver Sacks and Dr. Gerald Edelman.

What I realized is that Professor Lincer was teaching his students to develop an Aristotelian fascination with the skill of critical thinking. Aristotle made statements and asked questions leading the student to thinking through to a well-chosen answer.

Aristotle’s “Ethics” is about all the aspects of “How to lead a good life.” Family values/community, the Virtues: “wisdom, temperance, courage, justice, and friendship. Doing the right thing and making the right choices defines us. The different kinds of friendships to connect with others.”

The magic of studying Aristotle’s method of thinking is that the student is independently discovering facts aided by Aristotle, rather than being instructed by him. It forces us to use inductive and deductive reasoning as critical thinking methods.

The greatest gift a teacher can give their student is to teach them how to think… not what to think. © 2019 Madeline Frank

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


“Music and Medicine” by Tharon Giddens (Oct 3, 2019)from the Richmond  Medical professionals began an orchestra in Oct 2017 for stress relief and getting together to have fun. They practice on Wednesday nights for two hours. “Other medical schools have similar ensembles, including Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.” 

“How Juilliard Made Me a Better Scientist” by Michael Domjan (Jul 10, 2018) from the Juilliard Journal. Michael Domjan, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin says, studying the violin at “Juilliard made me a better scientist.” His brother Daniel Domjan, a physician also studied the violin at Juilliard.


“Chamber Music as Prep for Med School” by Megan Griffin (Dec 12, 2018) from the Juilliard Journal. Megan Griffinviola alumni and medical school student shares how her studies in “chamber music prepared her for medical school”.


“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 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.


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 Thanksgiving 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) 2019 Madeline Frank.