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10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful
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I have always been a proponent for music education, and thus am happy to see that more and more people are learning an instrument these days.

I myself became a drummer at around the age of 11, and have played ever since. I am no savant, but I can play just about anything (except perhaps the closing solo in the movie Whiplash).

As a result, I have always maintained that learning how to play an instrument is beneficial. I did not have any proof, I just had first hand experiences that proved that to be the case. Nowadays however, there is a mountain of evidence suggesting that music education is not only good for you, but nearly essential if you want to be successful in life.

What is it about musicians that gives them an edge over others? Read on.

1. They Are More Creative

Recent research has shown that many successful politicians, businessmen, and more were trained at a young age to be a musician of some kind. Whether it be of a piano, clarinet, or saxophone, it didn’t really matter.

What does matter is that these people credit their music education with making them more creative. Indeed, as Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) once stated, music allows you to “look beyond what currently exists and express yourself in a new way” (NYT).

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As a drummer, I can attest to that. So much of music is about creating something different, and breaking mental barriers. All of which necessarily bleeds into other aspects of your life.

2. Their Brains Develop Differently

As many studies have shown, playing an instrument tends to have a multitude of beneficial effects on the brain, many of which are especially visible in children.

Indeed, those who start from an early age (around 9 to 11) have “significantly more grey matter volume” within their heads (Parenting Science). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that musicians are smarter, it does demonstrate that their brains are making unique and interesting connections and associations that those who do not play instruments might lack.

3. They Connect With Others Better

Music is often thought of as a way to connect different cultures, ideas, and perspectives. Even when you are unfamiliar with a location, you can always use your ability to play music to get to know those around you, and establish connections that may have been impossible to create otherwise.

This can be a crucial skill to have in any number of professions, especially those that require you to immerse yourself in a location that you are unfamiliar with.

4. They Are Better At Math

I am not sure this one applies to me, but it has long been known that there is some kind of connection between math and music.

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This likely has to do with the fact that both deal with analyzing puzzles and finding patterns in order to find solutions. If you can get a sense of the ebb and flow of music and musical language, mathematical concepts should begin to make more sense. Being better at math is beneficial for a number of reasons, if only because so many new jobs in this day and age rely on that skill.

5. They Have A Better Sense Of Rhythm

As a drummer, I know how to keep time in a song and play to the beat. In life, I use those same skills to maintain some order in my schedule.

Additionally, when you are a musician, it is easier to get into the groove of things and accomplish repetitive tasks at a consistent rate. (It also helps with stuff like dancing!)

Thus, learning how to maintain a steady pace not only makes for a good musician, but a more productive and effective worker as well.

6. They Are Obsessive

Any musician, whether they be a novice or an expert, has to be just a little obsessive to cultivate their craft. Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook, stated that “musicians and top professionals share ‘the almost desperate need to dive deep'” (NYT).

To become proficient at playing music requires a lot of time and dedication. If you are willing to put effort into that, you will likely tackle other things with that same gusto.

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7. They Are More Likely To Have A Higher IQ

This is especially true if they started playing music at a young age, like say around 6 years old. Indeed, one study found that kids who took up an instrument around this age showed a greater increase in their IQ compared to those who did not (Science Net Links).

Suffice it to say, having more intelligence to work with than your peers is often crucial in gaining the upper hand.

8. They Process Speech More Efficiently

Becoming successful requires that you be a good listener, and musicians are groomed to acquire that skill early on in their development.

Indeed, research has shown that learning how to play music has a beneficial effect on the areas of your brain that process sounds — an effect that lasts even into old age (Washington Post).

Listening is an important skill to have, as the ability to make sense of speech and complicated strings of words and sentences is crucial to success.

9. They Are Conditioned To Work Hard For Results

While it isn’t always true that those who work hardest in life are the most successful, such is usually the case in regard to musicians.

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Indeed, one expert stated that an amazing thing about learning music is that “if you work hard enough, it does get better” (NYT).

Music thus conditions you to believe that working harder gets results, and while that may not always be true in everything, it does lead to you pushing yourself harder in order to see measurable improvements in all aspects of your life.

10. They Have More Self-Control

While you might think of musicians as loose cannons (certain rock stars come to mind), those cases aren’t typical.

Indeed, learning how to play an instrument and read music is an immensely difficult task when you first start out, and requires a lot of mental focus. And, once you are skilled at playing music, it takes both talent and self-control to keep rhythm, to maintain a beat, and to otherwise stay on the musical rails, so to speak.

Translate that ability to remain dedicated and focused on the task at hand to the real world, and it is easy to see why so many musicians end up being successful in other fields.

Do you play an instrument? Has it effected your life in a beneficial way? Comment below!

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Featured photo credit: Snare Drum/Vladimir Morozov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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