What would you say if I told you that you could get ahead in your career by learning to play the drums, or any other musical instrument for that matter?
Besides being a fun activity, learning to play music can actually be good for your career. Here are five benefits to being more musical:
A huge part of every manager’s job is to interact with their team, get them to share their best ideas, and use these ideas to put together winning strategies for the organization. The most fundamental skill needed in this process is to be a good listener.
Learning music teaches you to listen like nothing else can. And the listening skills that musical training gives you don’t vanish once you stop taking lessons–their effects continue into old age.
A study published in Psychology and Aging magazine that showed that “musicians processed sound better than non-musicians, with the gap widening with age.”
According to a study published by the University of Zurich, learning to play music also helps musicians understand what others are feeling just from the tone of their voice, making them extremely effective in dealing with people on a one-to-one basis.
A music student learns the ins and outs of tonality, listens to what others are playing, and picks up the notes to join them in playing. This process uses the aforementioned listening skills, along with an active audio memory and the ability to pick up unspoken cues–all skills that contribute to being an understanding and empathetic team player at the workplace.
Decision-making is a critical part of being a manager. A single bad decision can get you into major league trouble when the results are not what you anticipated. But important decisions are not just made inside boardrooms. As a musician, choosing the right chords at the right time and knowing when to pause and when to up the tempo are important decisions that can make or mar a musical performance.
Learning music comes to the rescue by improving your ability to grasp and retain information quickly, identify changes in your situation, make necessary adjustments in advance, and make the right choice at the right time–all off them key decision making skills.
Neuroscientific parlance calls these abilities “executive functions,” or high-level cognitive functions that are enhanced significantly by musical training, according to a study by the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Research by the University of Zurich shows that learning to play instruments can up your IQ by up to seven points.
This study shows that the corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that controls memory, hearing, and motor skills, expands in people who learn to play music. When you learn to play an instrument, you learn to integrate all your senses to function in sync–your memory to remember musical notes, listening skills to keep up with the rest of the players, and motor skills to execute the moves needed to elicit music from your instrument.
A good manager needs dollops of patience to deal with team members who may slip up every now and then or to deal with a client who acts unreasonably on a continual basis.
Learning to play an instrument takes years of practice, patient listening, and repeating the same routines over and over till you get each one just right. This process of slowing down and taking the time to master a brand new skill is a great way to introduce the same patience into other aspects of your life, most notably in your work life.
It’s no wonder that people listen to the radio on their drive back from work. The lighthearted banter combined with some great music has the power to take your mind off your worries and calm down those frayed nerves.
Letting go of your daily stressors is a must if you need to haul yourself back to work the next day revived, rejuvenated, and able to perform to your full potential. Music works here by helping you de-stress, relax, and slow down the adrenaline pumping through your veins.
Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia picked a sample group of individuals who are under round the clock stress–cancer patients. Their study found that music therapy resulted in a lowering of blood pressure, uplifting mood, reducing pain, and slowing down heart and respiratory rates in these patients.
These findings were corroborated by scientists at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who found that happy and uplifting music makes our blood vessels dilate, thus increasing the flow of blood to vital organs. The study reported a 26% increase in the diameter of blood vessels under the influence of music–a fantastic situation for patients with high blood pressure.
—Pratik Dholakiya is the cofounder & VP of Marketing of E2M & Moveo. He’s passionate about startup marketing, entrepreneurship, and all things digital. Catch him on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik to discuss on any of these topics.