Music training can lead to success in many fields

Posted on: October 15, 2013

“Multiple studies link music study to academic achievement. But what is it about serious music training that seems to correlate with outsize success in other fields?” writes Joanne Lipman in an essay in Saturday’s (10/12) New York Times. “I put the question to top-flight professionals in industries from tech to finance to media,” including television broadcaster Paula Zahn (cello), the NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd (French horn), NBC’s Andrea Mitchell (violin), Larry Page, a co-founder of Google (saxophone), Steven Spielberg (clarinet), and former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn (cello). “Almost all made a connection between their music training and their professional achievements…. Mr. Todd says there is a connection between years of practice and competition and what he calls the ‘drive for perfection.’ The veteran advertising executive Steve Hayden credits his background as a cellist for his most famous work, the Apple ‘1984’ commercial depicting rebellion against a dictator. ‘I was thinking of Stravinsky when I came up with that idea.’ … Consider the qualities these high achievers say music has sharpened: collaboration, creativity, discipline and the capacity to reconcile conflicting ideas. … [Music] helps train you to think differently, to process different points of view—and most important, to take pleasure in listening.”

Posted October 15, 2013