They say music is medicine for mind and soul and as it turns out that’s true for wild animals, also. Well, at least it seems so if you watch some of Paul Barton’s videos. Paul – a great pianist and also a wildlife enthusiast, performs for his select audience for over a decade now. Since 2011, he plays passages by Beethoven, Schumann or Grieg to rescued elephants in Thailand.
The latest of these majestic animal Paul performed for is Mongkol – a senior bull elephant that has been forced to be through a lot. Fortunately, he was recently rescued after spending his life in captivity. Just like many others behind him, Mangkol was charmed by the way Paul chose to communicate to him.
“Occasionally, Mongkol when strolling along the river would stop by the piano,” Paul explained. “If we noticed him waiting I would go over and play him a few slow classical pieces.”
Paul mostly perform for elephants that are residents of the Elephants World, a sanctuary on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Many of these gentle giants have been rescued from the logging industry, a practice banned in the country over three decades ago. This music therapy proved to be have healing effects on most of these elephants. Paul also says it is such a deep bond between him as a musician and the elephants he use perform for.
Here you can watch on of these touching moments.
“There is a special bond between you and the elephant,” the pianist said. “It seems worthwhile to play piano music to elephants if they enjoy it, elephants that have had stressful lives and live in a world of darkness, but apparently, there is something infinitesimally wonderful in a piece of Beethoven that connects me to that elephant and that feeling is otherworldly.”
Many of these elephants have suffered many injuries, both physically and mentally, during their lives in captivity. Some of them were even blind. However, it turned out the classical music was all the comfort they were ever seeking for.
Here’s Paul performing a passage by Beethoven for Mangkol!