Engagement, persistence, and creativity are components of
higher-level thinking and complex problem solving (Costa & Kallick, 2000).
Music education nurtures these habits of mind that are essential for success in
today’s global, knowledge-based economy in the following ways:
1 Sharpens student attentiveness. The ability to pay
attention—visual focus, active listening and staying on task—is essential to
school performance. It begins to develop early in life and is continuously
refined. Early childhood training in instrumental music improves these
attention abilities, while continued music education throughout adolescence
reinforces and strengthens them (Neville et al., 2008). Attentiveness is
an essential building block of engagement, a competency necessary for success
in school and the workforce.
2 Strengthens perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to
continue towards a goal when presented with obstacles. It is developed and
strengthened through music education. Students involved in music lessons
surpass their peers on tasks measuring perseverance. At the foundation of
perseverance are motivation, commitment and persistence, all traits of creative
individuals (Scott, 1992).
3 Equips students to be creative. Employers identify creativity as
one of the top five skills important for success in the workforce (Lichtenberg,
Woock, & Wright, 2008). Music education helps develop originality and
flexibility, which are key components of creativity and innovation. Graduates
from music programs report that creativity, teamwork, communication, and
critical thinking are skills and competencies necessary in their work,
regardless of whether they are working in music or in other fields (Craft,
2001; SNAAP, 2011).
4 Supports better study habits and
self-esteem. A study of music majors found that they felt more prepared for success in college
than non-music majors. This readiness may be due to the music majors’ discipline and focus
developed via intense practice and performance routines prior to college. These habits are typical of music
students and may generalize to other academic areas and social/ emotional aspects of life,
contributing to higher self esteemand success (Chesky et al., 1997).