When people study music, they learn much more than simply how to sing or play an instrument. Most of us can’t become professional musicians as adults, but the time spent on music adds up to much more than “just a hobby.” Musicians gain a number of soft skills that are helpful in any type of career. As opposed to hard skills, which consist of specific knowledge and skills needed for a given job, skills are equally important abilities that allow you to interact well with others and complete work successfully, and they’re in high demand.Having soft skills makes you more competitive in the job market and increases your chances of success in any position — even if you’re self-employed! Whether you end up in a music-related career or not, you will be more prepared to tackle future employment challenges by having these 8 skills learned through music.
1. Self-Discipline and Responsibility
Self-discipline is a crucial skill in any profession. Employers and clients naturally appreciate punctuality, and time management skills are necessary to plan one’s schedule and complete work on time. Musicians must learn how to meet the goals of a lesson on schedule and make adequate time to practice. It also requires organization and personal responsibility, because getting to a concert on time doesn’t mean much if you haven’t practiced adequately or forgot to bring your instrument, sheet music, or other necessary items.
The ability to accept change and go with the flow is a very attractive quality in an employee. Musicians learn how to play with new groups of people, how to play a different style of music, and how to adjust to meet the requirements of a conductor. Whether it’s adapting to work with a different team, shifting to a new procedure, or learning how to use new software, employees who can make a smooth transition will be much more successful than those who flounder when changes occur.
Every job will present its own frustrations and obstacles, but those who have practical experience with perseverance will be ready for the challenge. Even for a person with natural talent, learning how to sing or play an instrument well requires a great deal of practice and repetition. You also gain valuable experience in how to face a new challenge every time you start learning a new piece of music. When a piece is difficult, you cannot give up. You play the hard parts repeatedly, going slowly at first, until you can hit every note right at the desired tempo. It’s also beneficial to learn to recognize when you need help with something, and how to ask for that help.
4. Memory and Concentration
Musicians must often memorize pieces of music they plan to perform in concert, and memorization is a great mental exercise as it requires repetition and concentration. Attention to detail is an important aspect of learning a piece of music as well, since you must learn which notes to play, how long, how loudly, and so on. Concentration skills are also necessary, especially when playing with other musicians or in front of an audience. You must be able to focus on your own part in the middle of an orchestra or choir, while still paying attention to the conductor and the performance of the group as a whole. This skill comes in handy throughout your life, anytime you need to absorb important information or work in a place where other people are also working or talking.
Good communication skills are extremely valuable, and can mean the difference between success and failure. Musicians learn how to use verbal and nonverbal cues to communicate with one another while rehearsing and performing. They learn how to gauge audience reactions as well. If a team of world-class experts are unable to communicate well with each other while working together, their project will run into trouble regardless of how good each individual may be at their own part.
The ability to collaborate well with your team and other colleagues is a critical skill in the business world. People have different personalities and working styles, but they all must work together. Musical ensembles of any size must function as a team, overcoming personal differences to produce good work. Cultivating a sense of responsibility towards your team helps you feel more determined to overcome differences and carry your own part for the team as a whole.
7. Openness to Feedback
Music students learn how to deal with criticism. Constructive criticism from an instructor is a vital part of the learning process, and a music student needs someone with experience to help identify areas that need work and offer strategies for improvement. It’s no different in the workplace. Employees will receive feedback from their supervisors and others, and they must learn how to accept criticism gracefully and adapt their work accordingly. Musicians may also experience criticism that is less constructive, and the same may be true in the workplace. This is unfortunate, but having experience dealing with that as a music student can help mentally prepare you for it on the job.
You may have many other skills, but without confidence, it’s difficult to apply them to the best of your ability. The pride and sense of accomplishment that come from learning how to play an instrument, mastering a piece of music, and performing it successfully build a music student’s confidence. It also teaches them how it feels to achieve something through steady work.Overcoming any trepidation about performing in front of others is another boon in the professional world, whether you’re feeling nervous about a job interview or meeting, or have “stage fright” about giving a presentation in front of a group of people. Gaining experience with this as a young person can help produce a confident and capable adult.