Tag Archives: Everything We Needed to Know About Business We Learned Playing Music

Musicians Thriving in the Business World: The Evidence is Mounting

WGN Chicago Interview
WGN Chicago Interview

When my book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music was published in 2009, I believed that as the pace of change in the business world continued to accelerate, the concept of Music & Arts education as prerequisites for success would become more mainstream. Innovation and creativity are skills that must be practiced, developed, and refined. While we’re not there yet, it seems that the instances of testimony and observation regarding that connection are becoming more and more frequent.

Here are a few from news sources around the web:

(FORBES) “These Business Leaders Do Their Jobs Better by Applying Lessons from the Performing Arts”

(HARRIS POLL) “More Americans Believe Music Education Contributes to Career Readiness”

(NY TIMES) “Is Music the Key to Success”

(WORDPRESS:  BUSINESS MUSICIAN) “From the Band Room to the Boardroom…9 Lessons of Music Education that Translate into Success”

(CTV NEWS OTTAWA) “Canadian Astronaut Touts Benefits of Learning Music”

(MAKING MUSIC MAGAZINE) “A Law Office with a Musical Side”

(CNN) “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Music Class” (Hey, that sounds familiar!!!)

(THE GUARDIAN) “Music Graduates are More Employable than You Might Think”

Our Music Education Advocacy army is growing. Stay tuned…

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This Time Shall Pass: Learning to Play a Musical Instrument

Woman-Violin-Clipart-1According to independent survey results cited by NAMM, the trade association for music retailers, over 80% of individuals who never learn to play a musical instrument regret that they didn’t take the time to do so. When I attend home shows and people pass our booth, we often encourage those intrigued by the pianos to consider lessons. Our adult beginner classes are so enjoyable that participants never want to leave.

The number 1 response? “It’s too late for me to start now.”

What a shame.

When I set out to publish my book “Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music” several years ago, it seemed like a daunting task. Conducting and transcribing dozens of lengthy interviews, condensing them into readable segments, writing, re-writing, re-writing, re-writing…

Then someone gave me some great advice that I’ll never forget:

“The time will pass anyway. You might as well get started. You will either look back in 2-3 years and say ‘I did it,’ or you’ll be saying ‘I wish I had.”

It’s that simple.

Bruce Sklar on Music Education and the 21st Century Workplace

In this article from the Burlington Free Press entitled Music Classes Fuel Society’s Need for Creativity, the article’s author and jazz educator Bruce Sklar echoes many of the themes stated here repeatedly regarding the role of music education in preparing students for the workplace (I guess everyone enjoys a little validation every once in a while!).

In the piece, Bruce and others observe that musicians have the ability to “Synthesize new ideas from existing materials or data” and develop skills that are needed in the 21st century.

Musicians are quick on their feet and have the ability to improvise.

Music education helps develop Discipline, Teamwork, and Leadership (3 of the 9 Lessons from music education that we identified in Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music).

Bravo, Bruce!

Test Scores and Non-Testable Subjects?

I came across this article on the web today from blogger Dana Goldstein regarding the use (or non-use) of test scores to assess the effectiveness of music, art, and phys. ed. teachers. This is a topic that I became intrigued by when conducting the research for my book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music.

According to a series of reports by the Center on Education Policy that tracks the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (which became law in 2002) entitled From the Capital to the Classroom, 62 percent of elementary school districts reported increasing time for English and/or math since the 2001-02 school year by an average increase of 42 percent. At the same time, 44 percent of elementary school districts reported cutting time from one or more other subjects including science, social studies, art and music, physical education, lunch, and recess by an average of about 30 minutes per day.

“What gets tested gets taught,” said Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO. “Because so much is riding on reading and math, included on state tests, many schools have cut back time on other important areas, which means that some students are not receiving a broad curriculum.”

The report also notes that these changes are more prevalent in districts that are home to struggling schools. One recommendation from the report is to “include measures of knowledge and skills in art and music as one of the multiple measures used for NCLB accountability.”

That brings up a touchy subject that gets debated in the academic world – How do you implement tests for the arts that truly capture artistic aptitude and competence? By definition the arts are about creativity, and standardization can discourage creativity. How would Charlie Parker or Pablo Picasso have performed on a standardized arts test? My fear is that standardized testing for the arts would drive the move toward memorization of facts rather than creative application, which is essentially what the arts are all about and the greatest benefit of arts in our schools (see item #5 of the 9 Common Lessons of Music Education that Translate into Success).

I asked a group of experienced music educators that question once (“What are your thoughts on standardized testing for the arts, given the fact that funding seems to follow test results but the arts are difficult to assess via traditional test methods?), and didn’t really get much of an answer. It’s a topic that needs more dialogue.

The Answer?
I believe a line at the bottom of the Ms. Goldstein’s post gives us a hint at the answer – Comprehensive Assessments that take into account “multiple measures” not just test scores. As a matter of fact, multiple measures are the answer even in traditional education subjects. As one educator once told me, “Standardized tests are a measure, yet only one element, and likely not the most important one in assessing the effectiveness of educational institutions.”

More about Dana Goldstein.
My letter to the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind

Sleeveface: Fun with Vinyl Album Covers

Today’s post is just for fun. Thanks to my friend Teri for giving me a heads up on this website that features pictures of people superimposing album covers over themselves to create fun faux pics. There’s probably more appeal in this to those of us who actually remember vinyl album covers.

When I interviewed Joe Santa Maria for my book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music, he reflected on the joy of vinyl albums as a boy:

“I can still remember that Christmas my mother got me the best gift in the world, The White Album,” he said. “The double records and the posters and the pictures. I can still remember coming home from Christmas. I couldn’t play the record. I got it, but then I couldn’t play it [until he came home later that day]. I had to walk around with it all day.”

He added, “Coming home Christmas night and crawling into bed and just looking at The White Album! Like ‘I’ve got The White Album!’ Looking at the lyrics and then just playing it really soft so no one could hear it. And to this day, it’s still my favorite album of all time.”

“That is missing from music now,” he said in reference to the purchase of tangible vinyl as opposed to digital downloads. “I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like, and I can’t wait to flip it over and stare at it while I’m listening to it. The bands don’t have that kind of lure to them. You had no money, so it was a big deal that you bought it. It was so much fun.”

Link to the website Sleeveface.com

Teen-Age Time Killers: “How About Guitars?” says This CEO

“You can either stick a guitar or a piano in some people’s hands, or you can stick some pot or some pills or some cigarettes or some booze. Let me know which one is going to reap long term rewards,” he said passionately, “because they both kill time beautifully. So which one do you want your kids to be exposed to? Which one is actually going to be a creative outlet? Because kids by definition are creative, they’re curious.

“Hell of a lot easier, trust me, to learn how to play guitar or piano when you’re seven than when you’re seventeen. It was like learning a new language for me. Our schools need less Ritalin and more guitars.”

Rodger Roeser
President/Owner,
The Eisen Agency

Former Bass Guitarist/Lead Singer of Turning Force

More testimonials from CEOs and business leaders on the importance of music education:

Gustavo Dudamel & The Music Lesson of Passion

Last night we discussed Tavis Smiley’s PBS Special Dudamel: Conducting a Life that profiled the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic Symphony and examined the many benefits of music education. When you watch Gustavo Dudamel, never is it more evident that a successful life is one that is lived with passion for your work.

One of the 9 Common Lessons of music education that translate into success FROM THE BAND ROOM TO THE BOARD ROOM as identified in my book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music was PASSION.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that includes one of my favorite quotes from Mark Truman regarding passion in the world of business:

9. Passion (Play it With Feeling)
Hand in hand with finding your unique talents is the discovery of your passions. We have too many people on the planet who are square pegs trying to fit into round holes. They have jobs and no purpose, a living but not a life, and they are avoiding the pursuits that they are uniquely qualified to offer to the world due to fear or complacency.

Yet nothing great was ever achieved without passion.

“When it comes to success in business, the first place that people fall down and fail is by refusing to own up to their actual dream. Rock bands teach us that the actual dream is to be world-famous. To play huge arenas and change people’s lives.

“When people come to business, I wish more of them would say that. Your goal is to change the face of the world through what you do. If more people came to the table like 16 year-old rock musicians, they would find a lot more success and a lot more happiness in the success they find.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Truman, Executive Director & Founder,
Omniac Education
College entrance consulting, tutoring, and test preparation
Guitarist/Vocalist

Music Education Advocacy Quote of the Day

“Without that creative brain, you’re not going to get great history teachers someday. You’re not going to get great free-thinking politicians and great free-thinking urban designers. Those are the people musicians really are. That’s where that funding should be considered.”

And how many voices aren’t heard because it’s not a real part of the curriculum?”

Joe Santa Maria,
Excerpt from Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music
by Craig M. Cortello

Choral Director Magazine

A brief word of thanks to Choral Director magazine for a mention of my book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music in their July 2010 issue. The website and magazine has a number of great resources for Choral Directors and for music education advocates.

Link to Choral Director magazine’s website.

Music Education Advocacy Quick Links

I’ve posted these before, but for quick reference:

“Why Music Education Continues to Lose the Funding Battle” (and why sports programs win)
https://bizmusician.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/why-music-education-continues-to-lose-the-funding-battle-part-i/

“FROM THE BAND ROOM TO THE BOARDROOM…The 9 Common Lessons of Music Education That Translate into Success”
https://bizmusician.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/435/

“CEOs and Business Leaders Interviewed on the importance of music education”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BquzvlLmMYA

Link to Free E-book Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music at Google Docs (view or download)

Link to purchase hard copy of Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music at Amazon.com