is something wrong with this picture?

The irony is that if 83% of people who  earn more than $150,000 studied music in school, why do those of us who chose music as a career make much, much less? I am glad, however, that those people who studied music and then went on to other things were successful in their chosen fields, because they are the ones who largely support the arts in this country these days.

From Reuters today:

TORONTO (Reuters Life!) – Those hours practicing piano scales or singing with a choral group weren’t for nothing because people with a background in music tend to have a higher education and earn more, according to a new survey.

The poll by Harris Interactive, an independent research company, showed that 88 percent of people with a post-graduate education were involved in music while in school, and 83 percent of people earning $150,000 or more had a music education.

“Part of it is the discipline itself in learning music, it’s a rigorous discipline, and in an ensemble situation, there’s a great deal of working with others. Those types of skills stand you well in careers later in life,” said John Mahlmann, of the National Association for Music Education in Reston, Virginia, which assisted in the survey.

In addition to the practical skills gained from studying music, people questioned in the online poll said it also gave them a sense of personal fulfillment.

Students who found music to be extremely or very influential to their fulfillment were those who had vocal lessons and who played in a garage band. Nearly 80 percent of the 2,565 people who took part in the survey last month who were still involved in music felt the same way.

“That’s the beauty of music, that they can bring both hard work and enjoyment together, which doesn’t always happen elsewhere,” Mahlmann added in and interview.

2 Replies to “is something wrong with this picture?”

  1. The statistic as stated in the article is that 83% of these high earners had some (undefined) musical education rather than that 83% of music students went on to riches. But it does suggest the importance of encouraging creative engagement in addition to packing students’ heads full of facts. And the point on the opportunity to meld hard work and enjoyment is well taken.

  2. I understand the statistic, I just also find it to be supremely ironic that a musical background leads to higher earning potential in fields other than music – which is hardly a wage leader in the scheme of things, wouldn’t you agree?

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