Originally posted on on September 16, 2015

I’m sure you’ve heard stories about successful people who learned music as a child. You also personally know friends or neighbors that are currently taking music lessons. What is so big about taking music lessons? It is a huge time and money investment to learn a musical instrument, so you want to know what you can get out of taking lessons.

Here, I am going to talk about the top transferable skills you learn through music lessons that some people pay lots of money to learn in an MBA program.

  • Leadership/Collaboration/Teamwork

In business, this transferable skill is so important as companies are shifting from individual works to teamwork. You see many self help business books on leadership. So how can you learn this leadership/teamwork skills through music? Well, whether you play the trumpet or the piano, you have lots of opportunities to collaborate with other people. As you spend more time on your instrument, you end up collaborate more and more with orchestras, chamber ensembles and other performances. You learn to lead and follow in music all the time. For example, in the first phrase, you are leading the string quartet. In the next phrase, you fall back to be the accompaniment and someone else get to sing the melody. In music, you learn to be respectful to the music and fellow musicians.

  • Communication

We know that communication is a great transferable skill that you learn and everywhere. You need good communications between couples, classmates, coworkers, clients, boss and etc. Communication skills is developed in music when you express how you want to interpret the piece of music and when you learn how others want to perform together. You can communicate through your language, body language and also music. Sometimes, learning music does not even require you to know a specific language. You can have a bunch of people from different countries just come together and play together in orchestras or ensembles.

  • Innovations and Creativity

In the book Creative Confidence, Tom and David Kelley told us “everyone is creative”. However, a lot of time people tell themselves they are not creative and lose confidence. With music, you can become extremely creative. Some of us choose to learn classical music, jazz or country music. There is room for creativity in each of these different genres. In classical music, you get to perform the music as written on the sheet music with personal interpretations. Think about the following conversation: “Honey, are you ok?” “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” I’m sure you could think of several interpretations by reading it with different tones. With Jazz, country music or other styles, improvisations become the basics and that without a doubt, build your innovations and creativity.

  • Time management

Nowadays, in many job descriptions, you see “multitasking” is a preferred skills. In this fast pace business world, you need to be able to juggle around different tasks in a day. When that happens, you’re happy you learned the course for advance time management because you took music lessons. You plan your schedule to fit in the daily 2 to 3 hours practice. You have to set priorities in life and perhaps saying no to hang out with friends. Learning an instrument also teaches students to be more effective with the practice time. Of course your teacher will help you to find the best ways to improve. In business, optimizing your routine means that you can bring more value to the organization with less time.

These are some of the most noticeable transferable skills that people learn through their music lessons. There are a lot of other benefits that one could get by having music in the life. I am so thankful that my parents let me learn the piano and violin when I was young and music has been part of me for all the years. Some of my friends who did not learn an instrument told me that they really wish they had the opportunities when they were younger.

You can still make the choice today to pick up an instrument that you adore and start learning. If you have children, why don’t you give your children a privilege to take lessons today? It’s never too late to start learning.

Please leave me any comments or questions below and start our conversation.


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