What Leads to a Lifetime of Music-Making? – Pacific Standard

Posted: March 19, 2015 by Kimberly Weiss in Other Music News
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Swedish researchers put their finger on a variety of factors, including starting early in life and taking lessons more than once a week.

The intellectual and emotional benefits of playing music have been widely documented in recent years. Yet many if not most people who take lessons as children put away their instruments or retire their singing voices by the time they reach adulthood.

So what sets certain people on a lifetime path of music-making, in spite of all their time pressures and responsibilities? Newly published research from Sweden finds predictive patterns in their childhood experiences.

It reports life-long musicians tend to be people who, as kids, practiced frequently, were surrounded by other musicians, chose their own instruments, and began taking lessons early in life.

A research team led by Tores Theorell of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm writes that, for each one-year delay in starting lessons, “there was a seven percent decrease in the likelihood of continued music playing.”

A positive attitude toward practice on the part of parents increased the odds that their offspring would still be playing when they were ready to have kids themselves.

Theorell and his colleagues examined detailed data compiled on 3,820 people—all twins who were born between 1959 and 1985, and who sang or played an instrument as a child. These participants in the Swedish Twin Survey answered a wide range of questions about their musical training, their early exposure to culture, and whether they remained active musicians.

Find out more about the survey here:
What Leads to a Lifetime of Music-Making? – Pacific Standard

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