Our blog and Radio Show for September celebrates the life and work of Dr.Theodor Billroth, physician, the father of gastrointestinal surgery, professor, musician and music critic.  Included are five articles, three on how listening to classical music can improve your health and wellbeing, “New Study Suggests Mozart Can Potentially Help Prevent Epileptic Seizures in Children, and an article by Dr. Lisa Wong, MD on “Music & Medicine: Harnessing Discipline & Creativity”. Musicians who have become physicians.

Our article of the month is The Most Valuable 60 Seconds Of An Interview: Is Not What You Think…”  by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

The new school year is also a wonderful opportunity to start learning a musical instrument to learn discipline, cooperation, teamwork, motivation, concentration and self-esteem. Studying a musical instrument develops millions of new connections, synapses, between nerve cells in the brain. Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, engineers, teachers, dentists, CPAs, and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain.

Included are four articles on how learning to play a musical instrument can improve your academic skills in school, how listening to classical music and playing classical music can lower your blood pressure and improve your health.

Radio Show Feature Question for September 2018: How did classical music play a part of Dr. Theodor Billroth’s life as a physician, the father of gastrointestinal surgery, professor, author and musician and what musical instruments did he play?


Theodor Billroth’s Formative Years:

Christian Albert Theodor Billroth was born on April 26, 1829 in the Kingdom of Prussia . His family was of Swedish origins. His father was a Pastor who died when Theodor was 5 years of age. Theodor was the oldest of five children.At a young age Theodor began to study the piano and enjoyed it so much he wanted to become a professional musician. His mother convinced him to study medicine.

Studying Medicine:

One of his Theodor Billroth’s mentors was Dr. Wilhelm Baum, a surgeon, professor of surgery, and family friend.  When Dr. Baum accepted the position as Chair of Surgery at the University of Gottingen, Billroth joined him there to study medicine.

Meeting Jenny Lind and Played the Piano for Her:

 “A musical highlight of his student years at Gottingen was the visit of Jenny Lind. When she performed there in 1850, Billroth met her and accompanied her on the piano. The intense musical interest he would demonstrate throughout his life is evident in the account of the Lind visit which he wrote about to his mother.”


Moved in 1851 to Berlin:

In 1852, Theodor Billroth earned his medical degree at Frederick William University of Berlin. He then went to study torpedo fish with Rudolph Wagner and Georg Meissner in Trieste. In ancient Greece the torpedo fish, have been known for their “electric rays to numb the pain, “as an anesthetic during operations and childbirth.”


Dr. Billroth was assistant for Dr. Bernard von Langenbeck, the “Father of Surgical Residency” and apprenticed to Dr. Carl Langenbuch from 1853 to 1860.”:

Dr. Bernard von Langenbeck, the “Father of Surgical Residencydevised and “developed at the Charite in Berlin, a system whereby new medical graduates would live at the hospital as they gradually assumed a greater role in the day-to-day care and supervision of surgical patients.”



Chief of Surgery at University of Zurich and Professor:

Dr. Theodor Billroth accepted the offer at the University of Zurich, for the position of Chief of Surgery in 1860.  He was the youngest at 38, to hold that post. He also became the

“director of the surgical hospital and clinic in Zurich.” As a teacher “his reputation grew. He had an infectious personality, attracting both students and surgical trainees to his ranks. He was loved by his students and was an effective undergraduate as well as graduate teacher. Students flocked to his lectures, and with the cooperation of energetic colleagues, he was able to raise the Medical Faculty of Zurich to a prominent position.”


Dr. Theodor Billroth meets Johannes Brahms musical composer:

In the 1860s, Dr. Billroth , a marvelous pianist ,violinist, and violist met Johannes Brahms, a rising composer of the Viennese musical scene. “They became close friends and shared musical insights. Brahms frequently sent Billroth his original manuscripts in order to get his opinion before publication.”

Dr, Billroth held many musical concerts in his home for friends and musicians to premier his friend Brahms works. “Billroth participated as a musician, on his viola, in trial rehearsals of many of Brahms’ chamber works before their first performances. Brahms dedicated his first two string quartets, Opus 51, to Billroth.”


“Brahms [6], composer, relished holding discussions with people in other fields. He was fascinated by the logic of scientific reasoning and greatly admired Billroth’s understanding of medicine and music [7].” (Dr. Roses.2.)Roses D.  Brahms and Billroth. Amer Brahms Soc Newslett. 1987; V(1):1-5.

Dr. Billroth’s Classic Text book Published:

In 1863 in Zurich Dr. Billroth “published his classic textbook General Surgical Pathology and Therapy.” During this time, “he introduced the concept of audits, publishing all results, good and bad, which automatically resulted in honest discussion on morbidity, mortality, and techniques – with resultant improvements in patient selection.”

In 1867 at the University of Vienna, “he was appointed professor of surgery at the University of Vienna  succeeding Franz Schuh. Also practicing “surgery as chief of the Second Surgical Clinic at the Vienna General Hospital.”


Surgery at hospitals during Franco- Prussian War:

Dr. Billroth “ did excellent work treating a variety of horrific battlefield injuries with aggressive and ambitious surgeries” during war time. He wrote of his experiences in Surgical Letters from Mannheim and Weissenburg.  “On December 3, 1891, he delivered an address on the care of the wounded in war which made a profound sensation and led to large sums of money being voted by the Austrian legislative chambers for the provision of adequate means of succor for the wounded.


Conducted Research on Wound Fever: “Ailment that effected many patients at the time”:

Dr. Billroth’s “treatise on wound fever(1874); “Investigations of the Vegetal Forms of Coccobacteria septica”  concluded that the cause was bacterial; Billroth was quick to use antiseptic  techniques in his surgical practice, and the number of surgical patients afflicted with wound” reduced.



Dr. Billroth Developed “Surgical Procedures for Cancer of the larynx and thyroid”:

Dr. Wong, medical doctor and musician says, “In Vienna, Billroth had the opportunity to push the boundaries of surgery: he was among the first to develop surgical procedures for cancers of the larynx and thyroid, along with the gastrojejunostomy techniques that still bear his name. He was as methodical as he was innovative; when he developed a surgical procedure, Billroth considered its pathophysiologic basis and practiced on cadaveric specimens and animal models prior to operating on patients.”


Dr. Billroth : Pioneer in Surgical Ethics:

Dr. Wong says, “Dr. Billroth was also a pioneer in surgical ethics: many of his then-innovative ideas are now standard practice. He advocated transparency in surgical care, insisting on post-surgery audits and open discussion about unsuccessful as well as successful procedures to improve patient outcomes—a precursor to today’s morbidity and mortality rounds. As an educator, he invited students to observe his operations, organized meetings for article reviews, and developed a journal.”


Dr. Billroth’s published 140 books and papers:

In 1882 he  “collaborated, with von Pitha  in a Textbook of General and Special Surgery . Billroth contributed the section on Scrofulosis and Tuberculosis, Injuries and Diseases of the Breast, Instruments and Operations, Burns, Frostbites, etc.” 


Dr. Billroth created the “Billroth School of Followers”:

To pass on “his restless intellectual spirit to numerous distinguished students.No aspect of his profession seemed to escape his intense scrutiny, be it research, teaching, administration, or nursing. He not only had something valuable to say about each but often saw to it that his ideas became concrete reality. In all the spheres he sought to influence, he was guided by a belief in the unity of science and art, and by confidence in his own ability to effect change.



Dr. Billroth Established “the first modern school of thought in surgery.” 

His “ideas on surgical training, advocated a prolonged surgical apprenticeship on completion of medical studies consisting of preliminary work in hospitals followed by performing operations on cadavers and experimental animals. This would be followed by a 2-3 year assistantship in a surgical department with studies of the surgical literature and the acquisition of advanced practical skills.”



Dr. Theodor Billroth was a physician, the father of gastrointestinal surgery, professor, lifelong and musician.  He advanced “the first modern school of training in surgery”. He was deducted to saving lives and teaching future generation of physicians and surgeons.

Dr. Theodor Billroth died on Feb. 6, 1894, Abbazia, Austria-Hungary.  

Our Radio Show and Blog for July 2018 celebrated the work of Dr. Lisa M. Wong, medical doctor, musician, author, and professor.

In Dr. Lisa Wong’s recent article for the American Medical Association entitled “Music and Medicine: Harnessing Discipline and Creativity” she says, “Music and healing have been inextricably linked throughout history. … The highly refined skills developed in musical training—listening, collaboration, empathy, attention to detail, and aspiration to excellence—are skills that are equally highly valued in the practice of medicine.”  She says, “There have been ..thousands of physician-musicians we will never hear about.

Dr. Wong discusses four physicians below and asks, “Is there a connection between the training one undergoes and the skills one needs to become an accomplished musician and the training and skills it takes to be an excellent physician?

She says, “Dr. Rene Laennec, physician and musician (flutist) of France (1781-1826) build his own wooden flutes and later invented the first stethoscope—a long hollow tube made of wood [2]. Dr. Aleksandr Borodin, physician, chemist, composer, and musician,  began a medical school for women. He was from Russia (1833-1887).

Blog and Radio Show for Dr. Aleksandr Borodin: https://www.madelinefrankviola.com/madelines-monthly-article-musical-tips-march-2009/

Dr. Lisa Wong says, “Dr. Thomas Sudhof, physician and musician from the United States, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in cell transport, credited his bassoon teacher Herbert Tauscher as his source of inspiration.”. She also discusses Dr. Theodor Billroth’s work as a surgeon and musician and Dr. Daniel Roses thoughts on Dr. Billroth and music composer Brahms.

Dr. Lisa Wong asks, “So what is it that musicianship can bring to doctoring?

Dr. Frank Davidoff, medical doctor, and pianist, says in his 2011 article “What Musicians Can Teach Doctors, “compares the training of highly skilled musicians with that of highly skilled physicians and considers the flexibility necessary for creativity to flourish in the arts of music and medicine. While recognizing that not all fine physicians are musicians, Davidoff suggests that a number of elements important to musicians (and other artists) also bear upon good doctoring. These include the fact that the practice of medicine is, like music, essentially “performance”; that learning and teaching in both fields are best accomplished through coaching; that practice is as important as talent, or more so; that continual integration of practice into daily work and performance is essential; and that expertise in both disciplines results from innovation by individual practitioners that is built on a foundation of fluency with standard procedures [10]. Practice in the arts can help inculcate these values and hone these skills.”

Davidoff F. What musicians can teach doctors. Ann Intern Med.2011;154(6):426-429.

Can studying and playing a musical instrument make you smarter in science?

Distinguished professor of surgery at New York University and musician, Dr. Daniel Roses described below what made music composer Johannes Brahms and Dr. Theodor Billroth, medical doctor, and musician “so unique and successful”:

Dr. Roses says, “They examined everything they did with relentless self-discipline: nothing left their hands that was indifferent. They accepted no truth second hand. They retested, reapplied, reassessed…and ultimately reformed the heritage in surgery and music which they had inherited [11].”

“Creativity, in each case, was balanced by a clear dedication to excellence. Creativity coupled with dedication to excellence and lifelong commitment to practice is a formula for success in many vocations. The centrality of these skills and attributes to both medicine and music, nonetheless, can only enhance the masterful performance, life, and enjoyment of the physician-musician.”

Roses D.  Brahms and Billroth. Amer Brahms Soc Newslett. 1987;V(1):1-5.


The Most Valuable 60 Seconds Of An Interview: Is Not What You Think

By Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

When was the last time you sent or received a thank you card?

What if the thank you card (or a simple note of appreciation) was viewed as a seed that was essential to causing a relationship to bloom?

Many high school graduates have fond memories of a parent reminding them to send thank you notes to people who attended their reception or sent them gifts.

No, you can’t send a text. No, you can’t send an email. Hand write a thank you note.

My Momma taught us the subtle art of writing thank you notes right after receiving a gift. No child wants to do that, of course; but the discipline of doing it right away helps you avoid the embarrassment of remembering that you didn’t send a thank you card for a meeting you held 3 months prior.

Over the years, I’ve talked to countless people who have saved thank you notes, or heartfelt notes of appreciation. When someone is feeling down, popping open their collection of thank you cards and letters bumps them out of the rut of complacency.

After Concert in NYC: Several musicians and I went out to dinner after performing a successful concert in New York City. I was already an established world-traveling musician, and the others were just starting their professional journey. I decided to pick up the dinner tab for our party.

3 days later, I received a lovely duo for viola and piano dedicated to me by one of our musicians who was a composer. It was a wonderful thank you!

Interview for Dream Job: Jay has just interviewed for his dream job. He thought the interview went well! When he called a week later they said the position had been filled. He was in shock!

He asked the secretary of the corporation “what the winning candidate did differently than the other candidates?” She replied “The winning candidate sent a handwritten follow up note immediately after the interview.” Jay learned a valuable lesson that day!

Stand Out from the Competition: Amy Segelin, President and co-owner of Chaloner, a national executive search firm says, “The message is simple regarding thank you notes after a job interview: No follow up can mean no job.”

“We reached out to over 50 people from all different industries who had hired at least three communications professionals in the last year (including some who hired many more).”

“We were surprised to learn that over 75% of the people surveyed did not receive any kind of thank you note from most of the candidates they interviewed, and for 30% of those surveyed, no follow up meant no further steps for the candidate.”

One hiring manager said, “The follow up is the lynchpin for me. If the interview goes well and I feel invigorated and excited about someone, I wait to see what kind of follow up efforts they put forth.”

New York fashion publicist Cristiano Magni says, “It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand.”

Nailing an interview is a great demonstration of what you can say. A simple thank you note demonstrates that you are capable of following through.

Do I need to write a long and involved thank you note?

No. Even something as simple as “It was great meeting with you and your team. I appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you again soon,” will get the job done.

If you would like to integrate a more detailed follow up, Ted Chaloner, founder of Chaloner commented, “A good follow up communicates interest, confidence and enthusiasm. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and assert your belief in your ability to do the job. If there is any opportunity to follow up or close the loop on an issue or event that came up in your interview, seize this chance to do so.”

Amy Segelin says, “With so many factors outside of your control in a job search, seize the easy opportunity of a thank you note to demonstrate humility, confidence and passion.”

Tim Ventura, Digital Marketing Executive says, with many candidates to consider for a job and “with a stack of resumes and notes, a thank you follow up will tend to give their resume a bit more weight, because it puts them back in your radar. A thank you note demonstrates actual interest, genuine enthusiasm, self- motivated, “go- getter” attitude.”

Ventura also says, “I’ve written many thank you letters myself, and typically I try to start the letter out with a sentence describing what went right in the interview (obviously don’t mention things that don’t go smoothly). Then, I try to touch on some of the key points discussed in the interview and offer short reminders of why my skills are a good fit for those requirements. Then finish it up with a “looking forward to contributing to your team” line, and of course your contact info at the bottom. The “thank you” part is more important than the summary in my opinion – keep it short, don’t write a book. But it is nice to remind them of why you’re a great candidate.”

“Hey – you’re not done yet! Set yourself a reminder to follow up with them in a week, 2 weeks, and then after that, if they still haven’t made a decision, space the follow ups out a little further apart so you don’t come across as desperate.”

Don’t let the engagement stop with a single thank you. Sharing an article you came across on LinkedIn with a simple, “Read this and thought of you… All the best!” reinforces that you are interested and invested in the relationship, not just the transaction.

Dr. John Maxwell’s “Notes of Encouragement”: Dr. John Maxwell, the number 1 leadership coach in the world, thought it was so important to write thank you notes that he began recently “The John Maxwell Stationary Series- Notes of Encouragement Boxed Set”.

Be thankful in everything: Rev. Matthew Henry, had his wallet stolen one evening. Instead of lamenting his ordeal, he wrote the following in his diary that evening: “Let me be thankful-first, because I was never robbed before second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life third, because although they took my all, it was not much and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

Sure, Fire Way to Write a Thank You Immediately After: Amy Segelin says, “I met one candidate who carries stationary on her at all times and disciplines herself to write the note just after leaving a meeting so she can drop it in the mail right away! Consider this strategy if you are having a hard time getting in the practice of follow up. And don’t stress too much about the format; the gesture itself is what people remember.”

Composer Joseph Haydn’s most memorable thank you Note: John Bland, an English music publisher, was visiting composer Joseph Haydn in his home in Vienna, Austria. His goal was to convince Haydn to come to London in 1787 for a concert engagement and to publish Haydn’s music.

When Bland arrived at Haydn’s home, he found the composer struggling to shave with a dull razor. The world-famous composer’s face and neck were covered with nicks and cuts and he was complaining about the headache of shaving with a razor that was not sharp.

Haydn said, “I would give my best quartet for a good razor.”

Bland rushed back his room and grabbed his new British razors and raced back to present them to Haydn.

True to his word, Bland was given the manuscript for the Quartet, op. 55 No.2, the Razor Quartet. That was quite a thank you gift!

Building Strong Relationships:That day was the beginning of a strong connection and friendship between the two men. John Bland became Hayden’s music publisher and when Haydn came to England he stayed at John Bland’s home.

What if: What if the thank you card or a simple note of appreciation was viewed as a seed that was essential to causing a relationship to bloom? Would you take that next step? © 2018 Madeline Frank

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



“Music Therapist Offers Sounds of Healing at Greenwich Hospital” (August 2, 2018) by Robert Marchant. For the past ten years at the Greenwich Hospital, they have had musical concerts for their patients twice a week at lunch time. Their patients “achieve better health and well-being” from having these concerts available to them.



“Music and Health-6 Ways to Improve Your Well-Being”(July 31, 2018) by Al Woods. “Listening to music, especially slow, quiet, classical music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies.” Classical music decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”


“Music in Palliative Care Improves Patient Well-being, Study Finds”(August 14, 2018) by Gillian Kiley, Brown University. “The idea was that music might help hospice and palliative care patients contend with symptoms like pain and stress and improve their moods, according to the researchers. Studies have shown that patients who engage with visual arts, creative writing and other expressive activities report improved emotional and psychological and well-being, the authors wrote in the study.”

Cynthia Peng, a third-year medical student at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, trained flutist, and lead author on the study says, “The field of palliative care is very mindful of the patient as a whole person, looking out for their spiritual and emotional well-being in addition to their physical health. For the study, which was performed in 2017 with a cohort of 46 patients, music as supplementary treatment was integrated into routine visits by the palliative care physician. Often, according to the authors, the musician was introduced to patients during the physician’s consultation. Typically, the musician played for the patient and any family or friends present shortly after that interaction. The music was played by Peng, who is trained as a flutist and before coming to Brown was a musician with the Georgetown Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program.”


“New Study Suggests Mozart Can Potentially Help Prevent Epileptic Seizures in Children” (August 16, 2018) In a new study it was reported that forty five children, ages 2 to 18, listened to Mozart’s Sonata for two pianos at the Royal Hospital in Edinburgh “experienced a significant drop in epileptic activity and discharges.” Researchers said, “This study confirms an anti-epileptic effect of Mozart music on the Electroencephalography in children, which is not present with control music. The role of ‘Mozart therapy’ as a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy warrants further investigation.”


“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 safe September, Labor Day Holiday, 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.