Watch the reaction of the elephant.
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For all their size and terrifying strength, elephants can actually be kind, gentle, and graceful animals. Elephants have been known to show empathy with other humans and are not averse to even giving a sign of thanks in case they’ve been helped by a human before.
British pianist Paul Barton used to live in East Yorkshire but now calls World of Elephants in Thailand home. With his wife, Paul takes care of 28 animals in the elephant sanctuary. The rescue center usually takes in sick, old, or disabled elephants where they are looked after by volunteers such as Paul and his wife.
Paul is no stranger to performing at concerts but as an experiment, he decided to perform a very special concert for one appreciative listener, Lam Duan (“a tree with yellow flowers”), a 62-year-old blind elephant in the sanctuary.
People find classical music quite relaxing but it turns out animals can also appreciate the music of the great composers. After all, sound waves affect all living creatures and there has been much research into the effects of different sounds in various organisms and objects. And when harmony through sound is achieved, it is the true language of the soul that speaks to every living being.
Lam Duan was no different as she can be seen listening intently and then swaying gently to the rhythm of the tune, almost as if she was dancing.
The 57-year-old pianist said, “My heart was broken when I first saw Lam Duan in the reserve in 2012. She was very restless. Now that I’m playing music, the elephant calms down and ‘dances’ to music.”
Paul said that playing in the elephants’ natural habitat makes them feel more free and receptive to the music. That’s why he decided to set up his upright piano among the grass and trees, a natural setting where elephants can feel most at home. And the set up worked beautifully as Lam Duan responded to the beautiful music of Bach.
Paul explained, “When elephants are standing next to you, you feel a special connection that cannot be conveyed and somehow explained in words.” He added that it usually takes only a few seconds to see if the elephant likes the chosen composition. “I hope that their life will be a little better because of this,” concluded Paul.