Our blog and radio show celebrates the life and work of Norman Pickering, engineer, inventor of “vibration control in Boeing aircraft”, “phonographic pickups and equipment”, developing “hi-resolution ultrasound for medical use”, developing the French horn used in todays orchestras, researcher, musician, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.

The article of the month is “First Impressions: The First Step in Connecting With Others” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. Also included are two articles on improving health by singing and hearing music and an article on the new “3D Printed Violin”.

Radio Show Feature Question for April 2016: How did Classical Music play a part of Norman Pickering’s life as an engineer, inventor, researcher, musician, husband, father, and grandfather and what musical instruments did he play?


Norman Pickering was born on July 9, 1916 to Herbert Pickering, marine engineer, and Elsie Elliott Pickering, a pianist in Brooklyn, New York. His mother taught him to read music when he was little. When he was 7, he began studying the violin with his Grandmother, his Mom’s mother. After injured his right hand while playing baseball as a teenager, he began studying the French horn. “Its valves are played with the left hand.” Pickering was a third generation musician.


When he told his father, a marine engineer, he wanted to go to college and study music his father said, “Music is for sissies”. “Study engineering”. Norman went on to study Engineering at Newark College of Engineering graduating with his electrical engineering degree in 1936. He was then offered a graduate scholarship to study the French horn at the Juilliard School. Also studying Acoustics under Harvey Fletcher at Columbia University. After graduation he played his French horn in the Indianapolis Orchestra for three years. He also began “a recording studio” in Indianapolis because of his interest “in the technical aspects.”


In 1940 C. G. Conn Company hired him to work on designing their musical instruments. Pickering helped to create “the Conn 8D French Horn used today”.


During WWII the Conn facility for building musical instruments was turned into a manufacturing company for producing “aircraft instruments”, Sperry Gyroscope Company. Pickering was offered a job working for Sperry at their Long Island, NY facility “from1942 through 1945”.


Norman Pickering was the conductor of the companies Sperry Symphony.

(The Violin World, N.C. Pickering, 2003,p.115)

With his new interest in aviation he became a pilot. Latter Pickering worked for Boeing “solving vibration problems…in the 707 and 747 airliners.”

Pickering for 10 years played “as a substitute for the New York Philharmonic and for 15 years for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on French horn and viola. He also taught music at Michigan’s.. Interlochen Music Camp.”


Norman Pickering said, “It was a big surprise to me that the public took to this device as they did. It was never intended to be a consumer product. It was a professional transducer for people in the record business. So we found that we were selling them right and left for people who just wanted to play records at home. The benefits were the sound quality and lack of wear and tear on records.” Mr. Pickering “founded Pickering and Company to manufacture high-fidelity equipment of his own design, and has served as technical consultant to George Szell, Benny Goodman, Les Paul and other artists.” (The Violin World, N.C. Pickering, 2003,p.115) “Mr. Pickering’s interview for the engineering society.”


Mr. Pickering in 1948 began to study “violin making, which led to his acoustical investigations and the construction of more than forty violins and violas, principally for research.” He taught at City College of New York “as Visiting Professor, …courses in Electrodynamics and Musical Acoustics.” (N.C. Pickering, 2003,p.115)

The Audio Engineering Society began in 1948 by Mr. Pickering and others as “an international organization that disseminates news and information about improvements in audio technology.” In Southampton Hospital in Southampton, NY “in the 1970’s he worked in a laboratory.., where he developed ultrasound diagnostic technique for the eyes.” He served after 1980 “as president of the Violin Society of America; consulting for D’Addario, a manufacturer of guitar strings and orchestral strings; and building violins and bows.”


Norman Pickering was an engineer, inventor of “vibration control in Boeing aircraft”, produced “phonographic pickups and equipment”, “developed hi-resolution ultrasound for medical use”, developed the modern French horn used in todays orchestras, was a researcher, musician, husband, father, grandfather, and, great grandfather. Norman Pickering died on November 18, 2015 in East Hampton, New York at the age of 99.


“First Impressions: The First Step in Connecting With Others” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

First impressions matter! How good is your first impression?

As an international violist, conductor, and speaker I have had the privilege of performing concerts around the world and playing for artists, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Natalie Cole, Paul Anka, Eartha Kitt and others. Watching these marvelous artists I learned the importance of first impressions and commanding attention! It all began while playing for Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall for two weeks during his sold out concerts. I learned first hand, the importance of First impressions and how to command attention of your audience.

Carnegie Hall was filled to capacity. Electricity filled the air. The lights were lowered. Silence filled the air. The orchestra was given the downbeat to start. Frank Sinatra, old blue eyes, smiling, walked across the stage instantly commanding attention with his hair precisely cut wearing a perfectly tailored suit looking tall, trim, and regal. He made eye contact with his audience making each member feel as a welcome guest to his concert. He begins to sing the song with clear diction, pronouncing each word clearly, painting a picture through words and beautiful phrasing telling the story of the song. Sinatra’s audience was mesmerized by his singing and could not take their eyes off him.

Frank Sinatra between songs told a joke or a story. His concert was two hours of singing with an intermission. The concert ended with the audience giving Frank Sinatra a standing ovation. He smiled, bowed and sang an encore holding his audience in the palm of his hand. The audience left the concert with a smile on their faces.

What are the 3 secrets Frank Sinatra taught about commanding attention and first impressions?

1) Be conscious of your image. Put on your best attitude. Stand or sit with your shoulders back and your head held high. Wear a smile, have your hair neatly cut and combed. Dress for success in tailored clothes that fit you well and make you feel successful. Sinatra even at rehearsals wore clothes that were tailored to fit him. He always wanted to make a good “first impression”. Belle S. Frank, my father’s mother, was a women’s clothes buyer for a department store said, “Look in the mirror; what do you see?” Before leaving for your job take a look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you look your best inside and outside. That includes having a good positive attitude.

2) Frank Sinatra looked tall, fit, and trim. Fit people attract everyone. I joined a gym after playing with Frank Sinatra and exercised 3 times a week. I gave up my favorite foods candy and potato chips and instead eat a piece of fruit, a vegetable like celery or carrots. First impressions are important. They do matter!

While touring in Europe, I found some hotels did not have a gym. So I always travel with my therabands, exercise bands, to do exercises in my hotel room so I can keep fit. By taking the time to make exercise a part of your personal development plan, you will stay fit physically.

3) Sinatra made his audience members feel as if he were singing to each of them, by making eye contact with them. He sang a song with clear diction, so each word he spoke would be clearly understood. He painted word pictures when he sang, telling the story of each of his songs with beautiful phrasing. In telling his anecdotes, jokes, or stories between songs, he spoke clearly, at a moderate speed using a pleasing voice.

On my recent concert tour to China, after traveling a grueling 48 hours on multiple flights from Virginia to Xiamen, China, I arrived at their International Airport. The Manager of the Xiamen Symphony Orchestra was holding my photo up at the airport. He was dressed in a tailored suit, standing straight and tall, with his dark hair neatly cut and combed. He was about 35 years of age. I was dressed in a tailored dark blue ladies suit that did not show wrinkles. My hair was neatly combed. My viola case was over my left shoulder and my raincoat and concert dress was in a garment bag in my right hand. “I smiled back at Mr. M and he smiled back at me.” I knew by the look in his eyes that we were going to get along well! His first impression of me was a favorable one. First impressions do matter and set the stage for the future.

As we drove to the hotel, I would be staying in, Mr. M said, “The hotel has just been re-named in your honor the “Music Island Hotel”.

I asked him, “What did they used to call the “Music Island Hotel”?

He said, “The Prisoner Hotel”. I thought he was kidding! “Why, I asked?”

Mr. M said, “When government officials did wrong they were placed in this hotel for safe keeping!” When we arrived at the hotel I noticed the brand new sign over the building.

Remember first impressions can never be repeated. So make a good one the first time!

Recently I saw the film “The Intern” at the local movie theater. Robert De Nero played Ben Whittaker, the 70-year-old retired phone directory company executive, who applies as a senior intern for a fashion company, About the Fit. The CEO and founder of the company is Jules Ostin played by Anne Hathaway. Ben Whittaker comes to the interview and latter to work, with his hair trimmed neatly and combed, dressed in a tailored suit with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He wanted to make a good first impression! The other interns coming for the interview looked like they just rolled out of bed. It’s all about dressing for success inside and outside. First impressions can never be repeated. So, make a good “First Impression” the “first time”. © 2016 Madeline Frank   Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]

“3-D Printed Violin Is Easy on the Eyes and Ears” (April 2016) by Ernie Mastroianni from discovermagazine.com Ernie Mastroianni says, “The 3Dvarius was Built Using a Technique Called Stereolithography. This translucent work of art is actually a 3-D-printed electric violin named 3Dvarius, designed by French engineer and musician Laurent Bernadac. A commercial printing firm fabricated the instrument in one piece (sans strings and other movable pieces) using a technique called stereolithography to build it layer by layer from photoreactive liquid resin. With no joints to dampen resonance, the violin produces a full sound and firmly resists string pressure, while its lightweight design gives the player more freedom of movement and stable center of gravity.”


“The Spark and the Spirit of Music” (March 5, 2016) by Carly Thomas from www.stuff.co.nz

On Tuesdays from 1:30- 3pm Janine Dann, leads the singing group, “Central Connections” at Central Baptist Church in New Zealand with her husband Chris Dann at the piano. Carly Thomas says, “This is a group designed specifically for those with a neurological disability and for each individual, their complicated grey matter is exactly that, complicated. But that doesn’t matter here, because there is music and humor and without even knowing it, connections are being made.”

Janine Dann says, “When you sing and engage with music the whole brain and the whole body actually gets involved. It means that you have a big area that is actually firing up so that when the speech side is cut off sometimes the singing part is OK. The brain remembers the words to the songs and it’s connected to the music. People may not be able to recite the words to the songs but when they sing the melody the sound comes along with it. And then what happens with repetition and practice is that the brain actually forges a new pathway back to the speech and it has that ongoing effect.”

Mrs. Dann, “I had a really bad stutterer in the group, every word was a stutter.” She now “can actually speak fluent sentences. It’s amazing, she practices every day the things that we do and it works.” She says, “Most of the time I just think about how I make the sound and we figure out what might work.”


“Concert Hall in Each Hospital? Why Not?” (March 12, 2016) by Nick J. Lizaso from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Nick Lizaso says, “Last March 4 at the Philippine General Hospital, I experienced how music helps transform cancer patients. For an hour or so of their lives, they were happily oblivious to their condition, their pain, their fear, as they got into the rhythm. They gently tapped their feet and swayed their heads with every beat. Their spirits appeared to soar with every crescendo. They hummed familiar melodic strains. They clapped in unrestrained delight, joy apparently filling their hearts.


“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:

com(Kindle) Barnes and Noble(Nook) iTunes


“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) iTunes

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 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 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 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) 2016 Madeline Frank.