27/02/2024

Pianist Plays Classical Music to Comfort Rescued Bʟɪɴᴅ Elephants

This is the incredible moment a Bʟɪɴᴅ elephant danced and swayed along to music after a kindhearted man played the piano for her in the wild.

Like many musically-minded artists, professional pianist Paul Barton enjoys sharing his talent with the world. Unlike most musicians, however, Barton’s performances are not limited to human audiences; in fact, some of his biggest fans aren’t people, but pachyderms.

Since moving to Thailand 20 years ago, Barton has found a way to pair a passion for animals with his self-taught piano practice. Through Elephants World, a “self-supporting Environmental Conservation Organization that cares for domestic elephants,” Barton regularly ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛs old, ᴀʙᴜsᴇᴅ, and even Bʟɪɴᴅ rescues to the works of Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, and other classical composers.

Knowing the healing effects that music can have for people, Barton decided to journey to Elephants World. He asked the staff if he could bring a piano and perform for the elephants to see how they reacted and if the music brought them any comfort. The staff said Barton was welcome to come. However, no one — including the pianist — was sure how the elephants were going to react.

“We liked the sound of the place being a retirement center for old, ɪɴᴊᴜʀᴇᴅ, and ʜᴀɴᴅɪᴄᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ former logging and trekking elephants,” Barton said. “So, we paid them a visit. I wondered if these old rescue elephants might like to listen to some slow classical music.”

The first time Barton played his piano at Elephants World, a Bʟɪɴᴅ elephant that was eating his breakfast stopped in his tracks when he heard Beethoven for the first time. “He was often in ᴘᴀɪɴ, and I like to think maybe the soothing the music gave him some comfort in the darkness,” Barton said in the video. The musician said this was the first elephant to really take to his music. Sadly, the gentle giant ᴅɪᴇᴅ of an ɪɴꜰᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, Barton said. “I was ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ when he ᴅɪᴇᴅ,” he said.

The elephants really appear to respond to the soothing melodies of Bach, Chopin, Ravel, Debussy and more. They flap their ears, they edge closer to the piano, and one adorable youngster even tried to clink out a few notes with its trunk.

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