Joanne Lipman tries to explain the connection between musical training and success . Several particulars stand out.

Lipman writes, “many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas. The power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.”

Then there’s this: “Bruce Kovner, the founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates and chairman of the board of Juilliard, says he sees similarities between his piano playing and investing strategy; as he says, both ‘relate to pattern recognition, and some people extend these paradigms across different senses.’ Mr. Kovner and the concert pianist Robert Taub both describe a sort of synesthesia — they perceive patterns in a three-dimensional way. Mr. Taub, who gained fame for his Beethoven recordings and has since founded a music software company, MuseAmi, says that when he performs, he can ‘visualize all of the notes and their interrelationships,’ a skill that translates intellectually into making ‘multiple connections in multiple spheres.’”


Listening, ability to harmonize, and especially an ability to harmonize time, pattern recognition: Those might stand for a definition of wisdom.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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