The ability to play music is amazing. It can open up a new method of expression, allow you to learn new and inspiring music, and a whole lot more. There are tons of transferable skills for musicians, too. The benefits of music are endless.
It can seem like music should only be taken seriously if it is a career goal for you, and that’s not true. While career bound musicians do need to take their craft seriously, amateurs also benefit from disciplined study.
Many musicians go on to pursue careers in other fields, but they can use a lot of skills that they developed through music. From teamwork to time management, musicians of all levels are well rounded and prepared for almost anything.
Possibly the biggest skill that musicians can transfer to other career fields as well as to other parts of life is discipline. The time and effort it takes to learn an instrument and get good at it is huge.
It is impossible to go from beginner to pro in a month. That discipline required for learning an instrument can be applied to tons of other things, such as keeping on track at work or sticking to a healthy diet.
Discipline is a very good skill to have no matter what career you choose, and music is the perfect way to become more disciplined.
As a musician, you have to manage your time well. Even the professionals don’t have an endless amount of time to practice. You need to know what you need to work on and how to get that work done.
If you have a job outside of music, it can be hard to get as much practice time in, but time management will help. You can also use time management skills in other areas of your job and life, too.
Time management skills are beneficial to everyone, because you can spend more time on what matters and less time trying to complete a small task. If you only have half an hour to do something, you can prioritize and get more done in less time.
Related: Time Management for Musicians
A big part of music is playing and working with others. Yes, you can take private lessons, but bands, orchestras, and choirs are so much fun. You can meet other people and learn more repertoire than if you only played alone.
Joining a music group, though, requires that you work as part of a team. If one piece of the machine isn’t running smoothly, it can derail the whole train. The same is true for music groups.
You have to learn to fulfill your role in the group so that everyone can succeed. Even if you have other people playing your part, one wrong note can still be heard. And of course, teamwork is important in almost every job or professional situation.
Unless you are only a singer, you have probably had to learn a bit of hand-eye coordination. Reading music while also forming the correct hand position and getting the right fingerings is difficult.
However, hand-eye coordination can be used in other parts of your life. Even a task as simple as driving requires a good relationship between your hands and eyes. If your work is very physical, then hand-eye coordination is imperative.
Sight reading is especially helpful in developing the skill of hand-eye coordination. You have to be able to look ahead, and your fingers need to react appropriately.
This skill applies more to those who have studied music a bit more seriously, but anyone can still learn from it. If you are part of a group that is putting on a concert or you are giving your own recital, you will usually have to help spread the word.
While word of mouth is only one form of marketing it is powerful, and you can also use social media to share more about your upcoming performance.
You certainly won’t learn as much about marketing as a marketing student, but the basic principles can be applied to a lot of business minded jobs and careers.
Whether it’s with an orchestra director, a private teacher, or another musician, you will have to communicate. If you are a section leader, you will have to be a resource to the people in your section. You might have to coordinate sectionals.
If you need to cancel a lesson, you should be able to contact your teacher to let them know. Same with rehearsals. Communicating with those around you is vital to your success as a musician and as a person.
Music will teach you how to communicate in person, through email or text, and possibly by phone. You also get to communicate a composer’s thoughts and feelings during a performance. Good communication skills will take you far in life.
This could fall under teamwork and communication, but I thought people skills needed its own section. In most careers and in daily life, you will have to interact with people. That includes people who come from a different background than you.
You have to be able to work with the people who are different from you. You might not always agree with everyone or like everyone, but you need to accept that. Professionalism and building a good relationship is more important.
One of my biggest regrets of this past year is ruining a possible relationship with another musician. I let one small thing that person did get to me, and my relationship with them and other musicians suffered. It made me so bitter, too. So, just be nice and learn to deal with people you may not get along with.
It’s difficult, but you will come across those people. Those people who you will butt heads with. Those people who make you feel like the bad guy. But you need to get over it and be the bigger person. That skill will get you places.
Did I miss any transferable skills for musicians? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to sign up below so that you get exclusive music tips sent right to your inbox!