Written as an assignment from my work (link to be provided once it is published), the following blog post is meant to demonstrate seven career aspects by which musicians develop one of the most important life skills: healthy communication. The words below reflect the principles I've learned from my experiences in music so far.
Music Teaches Universal Life Skills
Playing music is awesome! It’s so fun to express ourselves, work hard to exceed our previous limitations, and relax by jamming out with friends! If that wasn’t enough, music is also beneficial in developing one of the most important life skills: healthy communication.
Good communication skills is one of the most important attributes to living a healthy life and is crucial for positive social interaction, pursuing any career, and developing and maintaining healthy relationships. It may seem as though musicians spend a lot of time cooped up in the practice room, but there are 7 practical ways in which musicians can develop communication skills on a regular basis.
1.) Learning From Our Teachers
Private music lessons develop a number of communication skills including
listening carefully, following instructions, and asking questions.
Our teachers are people whom we respect, and their words carry the weight and authority to inspire us to focus during lessons. We hone listening skills while staying attentive in order to absorb the information and remember it.
After every lesson, we must practice as we are assigned to solidify knowledge and skills. If anything is confusing or isn’t working well, it’s important to ask our teachers follow-up questions and gain clarification.
By asking questions, teachers can better gauge how well we are absorbing the material and can lead us more towards the topics in which we are interested.
Teachers are experts whose primary goal is to help us learn.
Pay attention, do what they say, and ask plenty of questions!
2.) Following the Conductor
In orchestral playing, there are new opportunities to gain communication skills including
interpreting general directions, following non-verbal cues, and working as a team.
In an orchestral setting, the conductor is the authority who runs rehearsals and conveys musical ideas. Unlike in private lessons, the directions articulated by the conductor are usually intended for a large group instead of for a specific player. Hearing those general directions and adapting them to our individual playing is a special skill.
The conductor is also constantly giving non-verbal musical directions (subtle movements of the hands and arms) while the orchestra is playing. Following those visual cues requires special attention to watch and adapt accordingly.
In addition to following the conductor’s spoken and visual instructions, we also must listen to our fellow performers’ interpretations of the music. Working as a team within our orchestral community is how the orchestra can blend into a single unit!
3.) Articulating and Receiving Musical Ideas