Music and Success

A friend forwarded me this
article
from the New York Times. I read it hoping it would be
the blog post for that day, and found the reasoning fairly
shallow, although there were some good quotes from musicians who
had achieved success in other fields about how learning music had
helped the other activity.

This morning, the Times published a set of letters
making many of the same points I would have made had I posted.
One being the obvious one that correlation isn’t causation, but
the other being that even if we knew that learning music could
cause success in other ways, that wouldn’t be the reason to learn
music. Here’s the letter making that second point, which I
couldn’t have written but am glad to have read:

While learning music may indeed be correlated with later career success in life, it is not a reason to encourage music education for our children.

Music foremost provides our children with access to an abstract mode of expression of human emotions that cannot be emulated by words, making their lives richer.

Indeed, teaching children music with the expectation that it will improve their performance in other fields may add competitive pressure to the experience that can sometimes undermine the capacity to express oneself using this beautiful language.

YUVAL SHEER
New York, Oct. 13, 2013

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