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6 Tips From Musicians On How To Rock At Life

is music the key to successAcross many different industries, from the political stage to the financial realm, many of the most successful leaders have been musicians. This intriguing statistic has led the New York Times to ask: Is Music the Key to Success?

In this article by the Times, they suggest a definite link between music study and academic achievement. It presents excellent examples of high-achievers such as Condoleezza Rice who studied piano. It mentions Alan Greenspan, former chairperson of the Federal Reserve, and that he studied the clarinet. It tells of Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft who studied guitar and about comedic legend Woody Allen who plays jazz clarinet.

The Phenomenon

There are mountains of evidence that suggest it may not be purely coincidental that there seems to be a correlation between successful people and the fact that they are musicians. But what is it about musicians that give them an edge?

It's no secret music opens up creativity, but it also sharpens qualities like collaboration, an ability to listen and the power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.  Each one of these qualities is a significant attribute that can take a person to the top of their industry.

Here are some things being a musician teaches you that can lead to being an overall more effective, successful person:

1.    Long-term commitment

Musicians know Rome wasn’t built in a day. Learning a musical instrument is not something that you can treat as a fad or momentary venture. To become a true musician you have to keep at it for an extended period with concentration and focus. If you want to be successful in business, the same rings true. You have to be able to hang in through thick and thin, and follow through to completion on projects. In the long run, hard work pays off.

2.    Lots of messing up

Not to be cliché, but another thing musicians know: Practice makes perfect. And you cannot be perfect if you don’t practice. Practice is the art of messing up in a different way over and over till you run out of places to mess up. In any venture, you have to have the courage to step outside your comfort zone. Not to mention, making mistakes is part of the learning curve.

3.    Sense of timing

Timing is everything. In music, you have to get a rhythm, a feel for everything going on around you. It's important to harness the synergy and come in on cue and on beat. Musicians have honed the skill of knowing when to start playing. It is important to do this in your career as well. Knowing when to make noise may get you a promotion. Knowing when to move forward - and when to lay silent - in business can make the difference as to whether the deal goes well, or whether the deal goes sour.

4.    Realize they are part of the whole

Successful people focus on the task at hand and keep the big picture in view at the same time. This is exactly what musicians do as part of a group.

“Good ensemble musicians don’t just get swallowed up in their own part; they simultaneously listen to themselves and the other players, monitor the flow of the music, watch the director or the other band members, and sense the engagement of the audience,” Catharine Symblemé writes for Lifehack.

5.    Begin with the end in mind 

Beginning with the end in mind is one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Musicians practice this skill every time they start a piece. Their end goal is to successfully perform the arrangement. Setting goals and seeing tangible achievements is something that can encourage and make more successful individual habits.

7 habits of highly successful people

6.    Listening skills

Listening to remember and learn takes concentration and mindfulness. Musicians learn to use intentional listening skills whether it be during lessons, practice or performance. A musician learns that you cannot simply listen to respond, but you have to listen to gain perspective. This can come in handy in leadership as well. The value in the ability to listen to employees is often underrated.

Applying a disciplined approach to listening is a critical factor in building healthy communication and trust, and thereby creating success. 

The New York Times article concludes, “Consider the qualities these high achievers say music has sharpened: collaboration, creativity, discipline and the capacity to reconcile conflicting ideas. All are qualities notably absent from public life. Music may not make you a genius, or rich, or even a better person. But it helps train you to think differently, to process different points of view — and most important, to take pleasure in listening.”

There are many benefits to becoming a musician. Two of them can increase your quality of life and your personal effectiveness. Start your journey with ArtistWorks today and learn the instrument you have always dreamed of playing.

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