Music is the Key To Success

Music is the Key To Success, at least according to Joanne Lipman, reporter for the New York Times.

She makes an interesting connection between some of the most successful people and their musical abilities.

Adding to my collection of my articles about the benefits of music education is this one from the New York Times:

Is Music The Key To Success?

Author Joanne Lipman has compiled a list of musicians who also happen to be at the top of their field. Across all industries- from the arts to politics, from technology to finance- there are leaders who say that playing a musical instrument has helped them be where they are today. Did you know that Woody Allen plays clarinet in a jazz band or that Steven Spielberg plays clarinet and that his father was a pianist? Condoleeza Rice trained to be a concert pianist and the Albert Einstein played the violin. The list goes on and on. Just a coincidence? I don’t think so.

My favorite paragraphs from the article:

“I’ve always believed the reason I’ve gotten ahead is by outworking other people,” he says. It’s a skill learned by “playing that solo one more time, working on that one little section one more time,” and it translates into “working on something over and over again, or double-checking or triple-checking.” He adds, “There’s nothing like music to teach you that eventually if you work hard enough, it does get better. You see the results.” (Chuck Todd)

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.


even my cat likes to play the flute

Tiger Mothers, Unite!

Tiger Mothers, Helicopter Dads, French Parenting, Free-Rangers… We’ve managed to create some fancy labels for styles of parenting.

As soon as the kids hit the front door in the afternoon, I start working on the checklist. Heathy afternoon snack? Check. Homework? Check. Outside playtime? Check. Chores? Check. Practice? Um….


the cub of the Tiger Mother

Sometimes motivating the kids to practice is harder than asking them clean up their rooms or (gasp!) take a shower. They are in third and fourth grade now, and while I’m sure list of to-dos and the things we struggle over will change as they get older, practicing is never going away.

In our house, practicing is not negotiable.

I share many of the same ideas about raising musical kids as Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Her book sparked much debate among parents about “Chinese-style” parenting. The term Tiger Mother become shorthand for parents who push their children to high levels of performance in music (or dance or sports). In some circles, the term is derogative, implying criticism for a heavy-handed approach that disregards what the child wants. But I want to reclaim the term. I think that it implies conscious parenting, a style that nurtures confident children who understand that hard work creates success.

The parent guilt can be overwhelming so when I come across articles that reaffirm our family’s commitment to music, I eat them up like candy. Here’s one from PBS that explains some of the benefits of music education.

As parents we try to help our kids build strong bodies and strong minds. I’d like to argue that practicing a musical instrument is just as important as eating vegetables and exercising.

Exercise, good food, and practicing a musical instrument= the perfect trifecta for smart, healthy kids.

Carry on without guilt, fellow Tigers.

(If you haven’t read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, run out and get it today. This books has sparked much debate, but struck a deep chord [pun intended] with me. More on this in blog post Battle Hymn Book Review.)