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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

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!

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

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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