Posted on: February 13, 2020 at 10:04 pm
Last updated: May 26, 2020 at 10:05 pm

Therapists and scientists have long been studying the effect of music on humans. From the time we are in-utero to the impact music has on those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, one thing is for certain: music appears to have a positive impact on everyone.


Humans aren’t the only ones who like to de-stress with their favorite tunes, however. As pianist Paul Barton has discovered, a slightly bigger audience also enjoys the soothing effect of a song: Elephants! (1)

Classical music soothes blind elephants

One day while online, Paul and his wife stumbled across a website for a place in Thailand called Elephant World. Essentially, this place is like a giant retirement home for elderly elephants, or former trekking and logging elephants that can no longer work due to injury and disability. Several of the elephants are blind, and many are experiencing pain and other health conditions. A classical pianist who has always enjoyed how music can make him feel at ease, Paul thought that perhaps the elephants would enjoy it as well. (1)


He and his wife took a trip to the sanctuary. He asked them if it would be alright if he brought in his piano to play for the animals. Elephant World agreed, and so Paul played. While playing a piece by Beethoven, one blind elephant quietly eating his breakfast nearby stopped immediately to listen. (1)

This elephant was suffering from several health problems and shortly after died of an infection.

I was heartbroken when he died,” Paul said.”[He] was often in pain, and I like to think maybe the soothing music gave him some comfort in the darkness.” (1)

A Youtube Sensation

Paul records himself playing for the elephants and uploads all of his videos to his Youtube channel. On all of his videos, he describes the piece that he is playing along with the name and a short description of the elephant he is playing for. (1)

Music therapy for animals

Elephants aren’t the only animals that benefit from listening to calming music. Classical or slower, relaxing music can also do wonders for your favorite furry family members. (2)


Music can help your pets to reduce (2):

  • Anxiety
  • Heart rate and respiration 
  • Behavioral problems (barking, hyperactivity, mild aggression, etc)

This is beneficial for animals in high-stress environments, such as those living in a busy animal shelter or when visiting the veterinary office, but can also be highly therapeutic for your pet at home. (2)

Read: You can sleep in a see-through ‘Jungle Bubble’ surrounded by rescue elephants

What kind of music to play for your pet

Typically, slower more relaxing music is preferred. The pieces typically have longer more sustained notes and are not too complex rhythmically. A single instrument, such as the piano, is best. (2)

An important thing to remember when playing music for your pet is that they hear it differently than we do. Dogs and cats have the ability to hear sounds at much higher frequencies than we can, so you need to adjust the volume to not harm their delicate ears. (3)

Classical music tends to work best but play different artists and songs on a variety of instruments to see what your pet responds best to. Once you’ve figured out what kind of music puts them at ease, you can then use it to help them calm down when they are stressed and acting out. Those sounds are also beneficial to play for them while you are out of the house to help ease their worries, especially if you have a pet who suffers from separation anxiety. (3)

Keep Reading:

Jon Stewart Quits Comedy, Starts Animal Sanctuary to Rescue Abused Factory Farm Animals

The music therapy that helped Gabby Giffords speak again is helping dementia patients moving

Julie Hambleton
Nutrition and Fitness Enthusiast
Julie Hambleton is a fitness and nutrition expert and co-founder of The Taste Archives along with her twin sister Brittany Hambleton.

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