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?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/opinion/sunday/is-music-the-key-to-success.html

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.

success

even my cat likes to play the flute

Essential For Being Human

Music is essential for being human.

Scientists are learning a lot about how music effects the brain, how it changes our cognition (see blog posts Better Brains and Brain Imaging). But that’s not the whole story. There’s something much deeper going on with music. It is central to every culture across the world and across history. Music is enjoyed by people of all classes, gender, and age. Those who do not play an instrument still love listening to music.

Leonid Perlovsky, visiting scholar at Harvard University, writes

Billions of people enjoy music; many feel that they can’t live without it.

Why?

It’s a question that has puzzled scientists and philosophers for centuries. 2,400 years ago Aristotle wondered, “Why does music, being just sounds, remind us of the states of our soul?”

In the 19th century Darwin tried to decipher if our ability to create music evolved by natural selection. Of all human faculties, only music seemed beyond understanding; flummoxed, he came to the conclusion that “music is the greatest mystery.”

Perlovsky has conducted research on the “greatest mystery” and believes the answer is that music helps us resolve cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is psychologist-speak for the emotional discomfort caused by believing two things, despite understanding that they cannot be true at the same time. The classic example is a lawyer who must enter a “not-guilty” plea for a defendant, even though the lawyer knows the person committed the crime. Cognitive dissonance effects us on a deeply emotional level and if not resolved, it can be paralyzing.

Read the whole article here: How Music Helps Resolve Our Deepest Inner Conflicts (https://theconversation.com/how-music-helps-resolve-our-deepest-inner-conflicts-38531)love the piano

Tom Barnes writes about Perlovsky’s research in this article:

Science May Finally Have Found Out Why Music Is So Important to Humans  (http://mic.com/articles/116300/science-may-finally-have-found-out-why-music-is-so-important-to-humans)

Barnes cites research that implies music has played an essential role in human evolution, especially in the following areas

  • Resolving cognitive dissonance (Perlovsky’s conclusion)
  • Modulating mood
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Promoting social cohesion
  • Developing language
  • Physical healing

I’ve often wondered why so many songs are about love and heartbreak. Revisiting a painful breakup through music somehow feels good, but that doesn’t make any logical sense. I don’t enjoy thinking about the time I suffered from shingles. That was painful too, but I’m not going to write a song about it. The difference, of course, is that love is emotional. Love and heartbreak are two sides of the same coin, as are life and death. At the center of our existential angst is the knowledge that we have to embrace the duality of being human.

Music makes it easier to get out of bed and face the world every day.