Almost 20 years ago, Adam Dachman, DO, a surgeon, was rehabbing a 1922 Chickering player piano from an antique shop near his Wisconsin home when he discovered the skeleton of a mouse inside. Over pizza, Dr. Dachman and his family imagined a mouse and its family composing original music for a player piano company.
Today, Dr. Dachman is the CEO of Player Piano Mouse Productions, a publishing label that’s put forth the children’s book, “Player Piano Mouse,” and four studio albums featuring his original work. Dr. Dachman is a pianist and composer whose works are best known for the piano solos.
Dr. Dachman’s original compositions have appeared on “CSI,” “Access Hollywood,” “Good Morning America” and “House of Lies.”
Medicine and music
Dr. Dachman’s music career began when the tune “Barnyard Shakedown” from his first album landed him a spot on an episode of A Prairie Home Companion.
With the help of a supportive family and impeccable time-management skills picked up during his residency, Dr. Dachman pieces together his musical masterpieces in the wee hours of the night and on his days off from practicing surgery at Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
Over time, he’s found music to be a constructive way to deal with the stresses of practicing medicine.
“I’ve published some really emotional tracks taken right out of my doctor playbook,” says Dr. Dachman about his second album, “Center of My Heart.” “As physicians, we all have bad days, and they can be devastating. It’s important to allow our outside passions to help us heal.”
Becoming a physician is a terrific obligation and privilege, says Dr. Dachman, but it doesn’t have to consume all of who you are as a person.
In addition to writing music, Dr. Dachman says being a member of professional societies like the AOA and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers helps him maintain balance in his life.
Music as therapy
Although Dr. Dachman takes steps to balance his two great passions—medicine and music—life brings them together organically at times.
In 2004, Genentech, a biotechnology corporation, requested that Dr. Dachman compose a piece for an album called “Music for Life” that would be distributed to 33,000 cancer patients around the world. A few months prior, one of Dr. Dachman’s best friends died of pancreatic cancer, and Dr. Dachman had written a song for him.
Dr. Dachman submitted the piece he’d written about his late friend and titled it Keys of Hope, drawing inspiration from his friend’s initials and an image of piano keys on a DNA molecule. Genentech’s marketing firm, GSW Worldwide, invited Dr. Dachman to perform the song live at a global hematology conference in San Diego.
These days, Dr. Dachman is practicing surgery three days a week and studying to become a film composer. He has studied with some of Hollywood’s most influential composers and will soon take a course instructed by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. To hear music more of Dr. Dachman’s music, visit his website.