Music Soothes Sick Elephants

Music Soothes Sick Elephants

Music soothes sick elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.

And the story starts with a blind elephant and Paul Barton.

Barton is a self-taught classical pianist.

He starts playing piano at age 12.

One of his gigs involved playing piano for blind kids.

And realizing music’s powerful positive impact on them.

That eventually landed him in Thailand,  teaching kids to play piano.

Music Soothes Sick Elephants

So at one point he takes his piano to an elephants sanctuary.

And he plays for one elephant – a blind bull elephant, Pla-RA.

“They were all having Barna Grass and it was that time of the day, when the elephants get to eat a lot and they don’t waste a moment because they know that moment won’t last forever,” Paul says.

“Pla-Ra was behind the piano with a mouthful of barna grass and I started to play Beethoven.

“Pla-Ra was chewing, and as soon as I played the first chords, he stopped eating with stalks of Barna grass protruding from each side of his mouth, and that’s the way he stayed until the end of the piece.”

“Each time I played music for Pla-Ra, whether flute or piano, there was an identical reaction.

“Pla-Ra would stand for a while, and then he would curl his trunk and hold his trunk in his mouth until the piece was over. No matter how long that piece was, he would stay like that.”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with other sanctuary elephants and Barton.

Here is the full story with video of Barton playing for his elephant audience.

And is it any wonder that Barton and the elephants love each other?

There is something mystical and surreal about these gentle giants.

Curious to find out more about the Thai elephant sanctuary?

Take a tour of Elephants World.


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