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More Education and Higher Incomes: More Likely to Have Had Music Education

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Existence of music education in one’s curriculum is related to higher incomes and more education later in life, according to a new study by Harris Interactive.

Three-quarters (75%) of American adults were involved in some type of music program while in school. Half (51%) were involved in chorus while 42 percent had some type of formal instrumental lessons. Just over one-third (35%) were in a school instrumental ensemble, such as an orchestra or band while 14 percent were part of an informal group, such as a garage band and 12 percent had formal vocal lessons.

Music education is associated with those who go on to higher education. In looking at what groups may have participated more in music, education shows the largest differences. Two-thirds (65%) of those with a high school education or less participated in music compared to four in five (81%) with some college education and 86 percent of those with a college education. The largest group to participate in music, however, are those with a post graduate education as almost nine in ten (88%) of this group participated while in school.

Music education is also associated with higher incomes. Three-quarters of people (74%) with household incomes of $34,999 or less and 72 percent of those with incomes of $35,000-$49,999 participated in music, compared to 83 percent of those with incomes of $150,000 or more.

The findings are interesting, but it’s important to note that the survey doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, just correlations between music education and higher education and between music education and higher income.

Music education was obviously a big part of my life, as my original career choice was to become a music teacher. Its funding often sits second chair to “core” subjects however, and I’m disappointed when untapped talent or interest can’t be explored because schools have no money for instruments.

Those with More Education and Higher Household Incomes are More Likely to Have Had Music Education [HarrisInteractive]

Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published November 17, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I definitely think music education and experience with music is very important to a well-rounded person and to development.

There are many different kinds of studies that show the correlation between art/music and higher grades, higher incomes, higher education, etc. But this isn’t necessarily because art/music makes you smarter/more ambitious/more successful.

It’s because kids from higher socio-economic families are more likely to make better grades, go to better schools, and get better jobs. Socio-economic level is the primary predictor for your success level later in life by a variety of measures (higher SATs, higher income, etc). And kids from wealtheir families are the ones that go to the schools with good music/art programs.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

I think this is correlation, not causation. There isn’t a whole lot of money for music education in poor districts. Also, other things being similar, “selective” colleges definitely favor people with music background over those that don’t have one.

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