For some twenty years I have been applying concepts and skills found in music to areas outside music — primarily to business and manufacturing. As professional classical pianist, I have found many of the skills I’ve developed through my years of study and training to be the same ones in great demand throughout the workplace. Some of those skills include: problem-solving, collaboration, focus, analytical thinking, communication, listening, authenticity, self-awareness, self-management, improvisation to name a few. A professional-level musician has, by default, had to utilize those very skills daily during their development – otherwise that level would not be possible.
Music is not alone, of course, as a discipline being able to impart necessary life skills: so can sports and the armed services. However, music ranks among the very top (if not the top) of the list of disciplines for teaching numerous life skills so well. That’s because playing music demands significant and simultaneous left-brain and right-brain function – a demand which makes the study of music unique. This claim can be substantiated by examining the corpus callosum – the band of nerve fibers connecting the left and right hemispheres of the cerebrum – where it is physically largest (most developed) in musicians. That demonstrates just how much creative and factual thinking takes place simultaneously in the left and right brain hemispheres during the music-making process.
My blog will regularly explore the subject of skills learned through music study and their universal application. Thankfully, there is an ever-growing body of research to back up the anecdotal claims musicians have been making for decades — that studying music teaches many universal, high-demand skills extremely well. This site will contain a growing presence of studies and related articles which speak directly to the topic of music skill and their transference. In addition to research articles, there are a number of writers on the subjects of music and the brain such as Oliver Sachs, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain; David Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music; Robert Jourdain, Music, the Brain and Ecstasy. Those are all highly informative and interesting books.