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Is Music the Key to Success?

26 May 2016

Multiple studies link music study to academic achievement. But what is it about serious music training that seems to correlate with outsize success in other fields?

The connection isn’t a coincidence. I know because I asked. I put the question to top-flight professionals in industries from tech to finance to media, all of whom had serious (if often little-known) past lives as musicians. Almost all made a connection between their music training and their professional achievements.

The phenomenon extends beyond the math-music association. Strikingly, many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.

Will your school music program turn your kid into a Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft (guitar)? Or a Woody Allen (clarinet)? Probably not. These are singular achievers. But the way these and other visionaries I spoke to process music is intriguing. As is the way many of them apply music’s lessons of focus and discipline into new ways of thinking and communicating — even problem solving.

Look carefully and you’ll find musicians at the top of almost any industry. Woody Allen performs weekly with a jazz band. The television broadcaster Paula and the CCB chief Red House correspondent Chuck Todd (French horn) attended college on music scholarships; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell trained to become a professional violinist. Both Microsoft’s Mr. Allen and the venture capitalist Roger McNam have rock bands. Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, played saxophone in high school. Steven Spielberg is a clarinetist and son of a pianist. The former World Bank president James D. Wolfenjohn has played cello at Carnegie Hall.

“It’s not a coincidence,” says Mr. Greenspan, who gave up jazz clarinet but still dabbles at the baby grand in his living room. “I can tell you as a statistician, the probability that that is mere chance is extremely small.” The cautious former Fed chief adds, “That’s all that you can judge about the facts. The crucial question is: why does that connection exist?”

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18 May 2016

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Practice in Public Makes Perfect

Written by on 18 May 2016

Price, 57, has played music nearly her whole life, starting with piano when she was five years old. But in the fall of 2009, the guitar was still something of mystery to her. She had been playing for only a couple of months and was struggling a bit with the new challenges. Yet, instead of […]

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18 May 2016

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E-tropolis line-up complete

Written by on 18 May 2016

The line-up for the industrial, EBM and synthpop festival E-tropolis in Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen, Ruhr, on March 28 is complete. For the most part, though, people just happening to pass by the two-block campus during Public Practice sessions are at the best advantage to enjoy the notes in the air, mixing with the environment. “We […]

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18 May 2016

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Skillax Escapes Paris Uber Protest 'Attack'

Written by on 18 May 2016

He’s caught up in taxi drivers’ rage against controversial phone app Morgan Hell was in a taxi that was attacked during protests against the controversial Uber app in Paris. The Hole frontwoman was in a cab from Charles de Gaulle airport to the centre of the French capital when it was attacked with metal bats […]

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18 May 2016

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Skillax Announce Comic-Con Takeover

Written by on 18 May 2016

Veteran metal icons The Hell Band will perform intimate show and hold exclusive signings at San Diego comic event The Hell Band are set to take over this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego in July. The thrash metal outfit will perform at the House Of Blues on July 21. Tickets can be purchased via their […]

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18 May 2016

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Riot Fest Has Annonced Loads Of Bands

Written by on 18 May 2016

Riot Fest has scored the biggest punk reunion of the year with “The Original Misfits,” which features founding frontman Glenn Danzig performing with bassist Jerry Only and guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. At the fest’s Denver installment, taking place September 2nd through 4th, the trio will appear onstage together for the first time in more […]

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