Recently, I had a chance to speak to a group of young musicians. It was actually a youth orchestra and there were many aspiring professional musicians in the group. As a professional trumpet player turned business man, my message to them was simple. The skills one learns as a musician can be applied to careers outside of music. Here are some of the most important, in no particular order.

Things I Learned as a Musician that can Help in any Career

Persistence: When you spend hours in a practice room perfecting one phrase.

Patience: When those hours turn into days and weeks perfecting one piece.

Focus: The concentration needed to make those hours productive.

Rebounding from Disappointment/Rejection: Learning from performance mistakes and making it better the next time. This is especially true when taking auditions.

Networking: Building relationships with teachers, mentors, and colleagues.

Performing: Developing poise under pressure.

Teamwork: Playing in an ensemble develops both good leading and following skills.

Personal Accountability: Being on time and well-prepared.


The point is, all of the traits listed above will help you no matter what you are doing. Whether you are working on a marketing plan or learning a new concerto, the process is very similar. When I prepare for an important meeting, I use the same preparations skills I learned as a musician. These include visualization and rehearsing in my mind what I’m going to say and the outcome I want to have happen. And I treat pitches and presentations the same way I would treat an audition or big performance. Like any “performance,” it’s never perfect, but striving for the best you can do is how you make big leaps in ability, no matter what the endeavor.