“I succeeded as an entrepreneur not despite the fact that I had a music degree, but precisely because of it.”
This statement came from Panos Panay, the founding managing director of the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music. Prior to his return, in a way, to the world of music, he had been a successful entrepreneur but always felt like he didn’t measure up because he had a music degree and not a business degree.
However, he then came to realize the skills he had learned during his music studies that transferred across to his success in business.
“Learning how to play a musical instrument and becoming a musician is an exercise in developing good listening skills, experimenting, overcoming repeated failure, self-discipline, and successful collaboration.” While these are markers of great social and teamwork skills as well as a deep well of persistence, it wasn’t just these “soft” skills that music learning taught him.
“It is simply impossible to become a successful music professional unless one also masters certain theoretical concepts, develops good presentation and improvisational skills and, ultimately, attains that elusive quality of originality that only comes once fear of failure is overtaken by the desire to acquire a new insight, a fresh perspective, and a unique voice.”
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Next time you talk to a parent about their child’s music-learning progress or watch your own child try and try again at something that they just can’t seem to conquer, think about the list Panos Panay laid out. This is just one of the life long gifts that music learning provides.