30 May 2022

Seven transferrable skills you learn from music

By Lark Music

Playing music is a skill in itself – but it’s well known that music also aids development in other areas, from communication to counting. When it comes to the workplace, this comes in very handy. Musicians often have multiple transferrable skills that make them attractive to employers and valuable colleagues – so if music is your passion rather than your profession, read on. These seven dynamic life skills show how studying music gives you tools that can help you thrive in almost any career.

1. Planning and multi-tasking

Managing your time, planning ahead, scheduling and hitting deadlines are all key skills when it comes to working in more or less any sector. For musicians, these types of skills are inherent, whether it’s the self-discipline you’ve developed to practice regularly or the organisational skills you use to ensure a performance goes smoothly.

You’re likely to be an effective multi-tasker too – able to keep track of multiple ideas simultaneously just as you do when you play with others, for example concentrating on your own part while still keeping time and following your fellow musicians.

2. Communicating

Being able to communicate effectively with others is an invaluable tool in the workplace. This doesn’t just mean talking – it applies to reading people’s body language and gauging reactions accurately too. For musicians, this is a daily exercise when playing with others. Not only will you discuss a piece while practising but you’ll also use non-verbal cues like eye contact and gestures while playing and performing. Understanding different types of communication and being able to express your thoughts while staying aligned with others are all skills that will serve you well in any career.

3. Team spirit

The ability to collaborate well with colleagues and clients is a vital skill that musicians are already attuned to. Think about when you play with others, whether a small group or a whole orchestra. Every person is different with their own personality, ideas and approaches, but you set any personal differences aside to ensure the music is made. The same team spirit is crucial in your chosen career, where compromise and a sense of collective responsibility are important to ensure a job is done well.

4. Patience

As a musician, you know better than most that success doesn’t come overnight. Learning a piece of music takes time, concentration and belief – and it all adds together to teach you patience. In today’s era of instant gratification, this is more important than ever. Being able to see the bigger picture and aim to achieve it, knowing it will take time and effort, is an everyday part of studying music – and this is a life skill that’s invaluable in the workplace.

5. Flexibility

As a musician you’re used to dealing with fluid situations, from playing in new groups or under a new conductor, to moving between different styles of music. On a more granular level, you have to be able to act fast, for example if you need to cover for a mistake during a performance. In these sorts of ways, music makes you flexible and adaptable, helping you to make quick decisions and feel comfortable in the face of change. These traits applied elsewhere will make you a dependable and valuable member of any team.

6. Creativity

How you express yourself through music is a sign of your creativity. From interpreting different musical pieces to composing your own gives you fundamental creative skills that mean thinking outside the box comes naturally to you, enabling you to take an innovative and problem-solving approach to different challenges. This applies to the workplace too – and it makes you an attractive choice for any employer.

7. Resilience

Feedback is an inevitable part of learning music. The ability to listen to constructive criticism, understand how to process it and move forward the stronger for it is a key life skill. In the workplace, feedback is regularly given – and sometimes not all of it will be welcome. But the hard work and dedication you put into studying music and accepting feedback from teachers and audiences alike stands you in good stead – giving you the resilience, patience and agility to learn and develop, while making you a valued colleague and skilled team player.

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