The other day, a friend sent me a delightful video of his partner singing to eight cockatoos on a balcony on the Central Coast of NSW. The cockatoos paused in their birdseed munching and seemed enraptured by her rendition of an old Ella Fitzgerald standard. Or they could have been thinking, “What is that awful noise and could it stop so we can resume our breakfast?”

Guy Noble

Photo © Cottonbro Studio/Pexels.

I think we like the idea that animals respond to our music and to classical music in particular. If we like Mozart, we think our pets will like Mozart too. If we are heavy metal enthusiasts, we think our fur babies will be into Metallica. Imagine the disappointment of a tattooed Black Sabbath fan coming home to find his bullmastiff secretly listening to Debussy. 

Does classical music soothe the animal spirit? Visiting the Monarto Safari Park outside Adelaide, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was being played in the background to the chimpanzees in their enclosure. The keeper said it definitely kept them more relaxed. I’m not sure...