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Is Music the Key to Success?

  • 24 October 2013, Thursday
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woman playing the guitar and keyboard sitting on bed

cello on sheet paperThe New York Times recently published an article examining the correlation between musical training and successful careers in other fields. 

The author (Joanne Lipman) reveals that: "many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking." The other qualities attributed to musical experience are: "Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas.The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously."

While Joanne Lipman makes it clear that you can’t just get your child music lessons and guarantee that they will become the next world leader, she does demonstrate a strong connection between positive personal qualities and musical training.

Here are the thoughts of some famous and successful people who also play music:

  • Paul Allen, (one of the founders of Microsoft) also plays guitar. He says that music “reinforces your confidence in the ability to create.”
  • NBC Whitehouse correspondent Chuck Todd says that music develops the “drive for perfection.”
  • World bank president James D. Wolfensohn has played cello at Carnegie Hall in New York. He occasionally joins in with musical performances on a borrowed cello whilst traveling across the world, to better understand “the culture of people, as distinct from their balance sheet.
  • The legendary director, actor, and comedian Woody Allen plays clarinet regularly in a band that tours internationally. He says “I’m not an accomplished musician. I get total traction from the fact that I’m in movies.”
These are just a few of the many inspiring examples listed...

Do you think that people who are lucky enough to have learned an instrument as a child perhaps received opportunities in other areas too, meaning that their success and musical ability are merely signs of general wealth and luck?

Or do you think that musical training has a uniquely positive effect on people's cognitive patterns, performance ability, and human interaction skills, whatever their social circumstances?

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