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British Pianist Plays Classical Music For Elephants At Sanctuary In Thailand – And They Love It

Many retired people relax at home with the occasional outings. Some may even go on a few trips here and there, enjoying the fruits of their labor. But it’s safe to say that this retirement plans for this pianist take the cake.

Tickling The Ivories

Paul Barton got his start on the piano as a young child. He decided he wanted to learn after hearing an impromptu by late composer Franz Schubert. Since he didn’t have a piano of his own, Paul learned on other people’s instruments.

He ended up studying fine arts at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Twenty-two years ago, Paul moved to Thailand to teach piano for three months. However, that trip would change the trajectory of his entire life.

A Land Of Elephants

During that trip, Paul met his now-wife, Khwan. The couple also now has a three-year-old daughter, Emilie. Paul ended up staying in Thailand to play the piano and teach the instrument to the Thai people. In 2011, while exploring the country, the pianist came across an elephant sanctuary by the name of Elephants World. The sanctuary hosted old, injured, and handicapped elephants. Paul liked the sound of that and decided to pay the place a visit.

Paul also surprisingly made arrangements to bring his piano. He believed that the music he played could help to sooth and even rehabilitate these pachyderms. “The first time I played piano at Elephants World, a blind elephant called Plara was closest to the piano by coincidence,” Paul revealed in an interview. “When he heard Beethoven for the first time he stopped eating, stood still and listened to the music with grass protruding from his mouth. So I returned to Elephants World often after that day and stayed for long periods.”

A Fulfilling Life

Paul came to Elephants World to play so often that he and his family eventually moved to the sanctuary. The pianist normally plays slow, classical numbers for the elephants, and has 28 that he normally plays for. Sometimes, even wild monkeys stop to watch Paul perform.

Paul has gotten great responses from the animals so far. “The elephants are free to walk about around the piano, they are not chained or tethered in any way,” he said. “Some elephants get very close to the piano of their own accord, they might drape their trunk over the piano even.” Clearly, these elephants have a strong connection to Paul and the music.

Watch Paul play for these wise creatures below.

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