Here’s proof music education can lead to success

Posted by Sydney Myers

February 2nd, 2018

On this blog, we’ve never been shy about our support for music education. Many studies have been published that show the mental benefits of music education and the health benefits of simply listening to music. But does it go beyond that? Exactly how much can music education benefit a person? Good question! Here’s proof that music education can lead to the one thing we all want: success.

A Connection Between Music Education and Career Success?

It turns out that many industry leaders have a background in music. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and even Hollywood personalities like Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg all had music training from a young age. Most of them still play music and cite their training as a key contributor to their success.

Consider just three skills some of the most successful people say they developed through music education.

1. Creativity

Paul Allen, mentioned earlier, says music “reinforces your confidence in the ability to create.” How so? He explains that in music, “something is pushing you to look beyond what currently exists and express yourself in a new way.”

The ability to create is imperative to success in many fields. Steven Spielberg grew up in a musical family but became a filmmaker. Alan Greenspan attended Julliard School of Music but went on to have a career in economics. Two of the greatest inventors, Alexander Graham Bell and Louis Braille, both were accomplished musicians.

2. Collaboration

Steve Hayden, the man behind the famous “1984” Apple commercial says, “Ensemble playing trains you, quite literally, to play well with others, to know when to solo and when to follow.”

Truly, music is a group endeavor. It’s not about just one person. The music comes together when the musicians do. In fact, in our blog post “What Music Teaches Us About Leadership and Trust“, we cited Charles Hazlewood who plainly said, “Where there is trust, there is music. Where there is no trust, the music quite simply withers away.”

Collaboration is a key skill no matter what career a person chooses. Working as a team toward one goal that is more important that any one person is what defines many great accomplishments.

3. Discipline

One lesson I learned while in my school band is that it takes hard work and dedication to be successful. That kind of self-discipline is the key to success.

Former NBC Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd says success in music is fueled by a “drive for perfection.”

“I’ve always believed the reason I’ve gotten ahead is by outworking other people,” he says, a skill developed through his music training. He says, “There’s nothing like music to teach you that eventually, if you work hard enough, it does get better. You see the results.”

With that kind of discipline and self-motivation, it’s easy to see why people like Chuck Todd are so successful.

Proof Music Education Can Lead to Success

One could argue that these people would have been successful with or without music education, that they just happen to all have that background. What are the odds of that?

Alan Greenspan put it this way: “I can tell you as a statistician, the probability that that is mere chance is extremely small.”

The fact is that there are too many successful men and women in a variety of industries with a background in music for it to be a coincidence. In fact, we put together a chart of eight more well-known people with a strong background in music training. These men didn’t just dabble in music in high school or as a child. It was, and in some cases still is, an integral part of their life.

Certainly, the skills we develop through music training are skills that can lead to success.


To see a downloadable version of this infographic, click on the image above.


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