The Glee Effect? More Americans Say Music Education Prepares People for Their Careers and Problem Solving Than in 2007

Three-quarters of Americans were involved in some sort of music program while in school

12:00 AM EDT Jul 24, 2014 Rating
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New York , N.Y. - July 24, 2014 - Maybe it was flute lessons. Or, perhaps, it was just a few years of singing in the high school chorus. For some, it could have been just playing with some friends in the garage. Whatever it might have been, three-quarters of Americans (76%) have had some sort of music education during school with half (49%) being in a chorus and more than two in five (43%) taking formal instrument lessons. Two in five Americans (39%) played in a school orchestra or band, while over one in ten played in an informal group, such as a garage band (14%) or took formal vocal lessons (13%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,286 adults surveyed online between May 14 and 19, 2014.

Those who were involved in a music program also stayed with it for at least a few years. Less than one in five (16%) continued with their music program for less than one year, while three in ten (30%) stayed with it for one to less than three years. But half (49%) stayed with it longer - more than one in five (22%) were involved for 3 to 5 years, one in five (20%) for more than 5 years and almost one in ten (8%) are still involved. Those who took vocal lessons and played in an informal group are more likely to say they are still involved in a musical program (18% and 24% respectively).

The more time one spends in a music program, the more they are to say it has been influential in contributing to their current level of personal fulfillment. Among all those involved in a music program, over one-third (37%) say it was extremely or very influential with one-third (32%) saying it was somewhat influential. Among those who spent less than three years in a music program, one in five (20%) say it was extremely or very influential, but that rises to one-third (35%) for those involved for 3-5 years, jumps to three in five (59%) for those involved 5 or more years, and skyrockets to four in five (81%) of those still involved in music.

The skills music education can provide

Music education can provide more than just learning how to sing and/or play an instrument. It also has the ability to provide various skills that people may need for success in a job or career outside of music. In fact, over half of those involved in a music program say music education was extremely or very important in providing them with the skills of working towards common goals (54%) and striving for individual excellence in a group setting (52%), while half (49%) say it provided them with a disciplined approach to solving problems. Almost half of those involved in a music program say music provided them with the skills of creative problem solving (47%) and flexibility in a work situation (45%). What is interesting to note is that all of these are up since these questions were previously asked in 2007. Then, 44% said music education provided them with the skill of working toward common goals and just 36% say it provided them with flexibility in work situations.

 

Music education prepares people for life

Among all adults, there is also a sense that music education is important. Seven in ten Americans (71%) say that the learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers while two thirds say it provides people with a disciplined approach to solving problems (67%) and prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully (66%). In 2007, two-thirds (66%) said music education prepared people to be better team players, while three in five said it provided a disciplined problem solving approach (61%) and prepared people to manage tasks more successfully (59%).

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TABLE 1

MUSIC PARTICIPATION

During your years in school, when and how did you participate in music? Please select all that apply.

Base: All adults

Total 2007

Total 2014

Elementary School

Jr. High School

High School

College

None of these

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Chorus or vocal group

51

49

29

26

22

4

51

Formal lessons involving an instrument

42

43

28

23

16

3

57

School instrumental ensembles, such as orchestra or band

35

39

21

21

18

3

61

Informal groups, such as garage bands

14

14

3

5

9

4

86

Formal vocal lessons

12

13

6

5

6

3

87

Something else involving music

24

24

11

11

14

9

76

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;

TABLE 1b

WHO PARTICIPATED IN MUSIC

During your years in school, when and how did you participate in music?

Base: All adults

Total

2014

%

All Adults

76

Gender

Men

73

Women

78

Region

East

75

Midwest

76

South

73

West

80

Generation

Millennials (18-36)

80

Gen X (37-48)

76

Baby Boomers (49-67)

71

Matures (68+)

75

Race/Ethnicity

White

75

African-American

76

Hispanic

79

Education

High School or less

72

Some college

76

College graduate

80

Post-graduate

79

Household Income

$34,999 or less

73

$35,000-$49,999

76

$50,000-$74,999

76

$75,000-$99,999

77

$100,000-$149,999

76

$150,000+

80


TABLE 2

TIME WITH MUSIC PROGRAM

How long did you continue with this music program?'

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2007

Total 2014

Education

HS or less

Some College

College Grad

Post Grad

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less than one year

14

16

19

15

11

18

One to less than three years

33

30

34

28

29

22

Three to five years

22

22

22

20

23

23

More than five years

19

19

14

18

25

27

Still involved in a musical program

9

8

5

12

7

8

Not sure

4

6

6

6

6

2

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 3

TIME WITH MUSIC PROGRAM - By type of music program

How long did you continue with this music program?'

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2014

Type of Music Program

Chorus

Instrument Lesson

Orchestra or Band

Vocal Lessons

Garage Band

%

%

%

%

%

%

Less than one year

16

14

11

13

10

13

One to less than three years

30

29

26

24

21

20

Three to five years

22

22

22

23

21

19

More than five years

19

20

25

24

23

21

Still involved in a musical program

8

9

10

10

18

24

Not sure

6

6

6

5

6

3

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 4

INFLUENCE OF MUSIC EDUCATION

Thinking back on your music education, how influential do you believe music education has been in contributing to your current level of personal fulfillment?

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2007

Total 2014

Education

HS or less

Some College

College Grad

Post Grad

%

%

%

%

%

%

EXTREMELY/VERY INFLUENTIAL (NET)

37

37

30

44

36

40

Extremely influential

17

20

16

27

18

22

Very influential

20

16

14

18

18

18

Somewhat influential

33

32

31

32

35

31

Not influential at all

25

26

30

19

26

26

Not sure

6

5

8

4

3

3

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 5

INFLUENCE OF MUSIC EDUCATION

Thinking back on your music education, how influential do you believe music education has been in contributing to your current level of personal fulfillment?

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2014

Years in Music

Type of Music

Less than 3

3-5 years

5+ years

Still involved

Chorus

Inst. Lessons

Orch or band

Vocal lessons

Garage band

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

EXTREMELY/VERY INFLUENTIAL (NET)

37

20

35

59

81

40

44

45

61

68

Extremely influential

20

9

19

32

62

23

25

25

35

43

Very influential

16

11

16

28

19

18

19

20

26

25

Somewhat influential

32

31

43

32

15

31

31

31

26

19

Not influential at all

26

41

18

6

3

24

19

20

10

11

Not sure

5

7

4

2

2

5

6

5

3

2

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 6

MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

Base: Involved in music program

Extremely/Very Important (NET)

Extremely Important

Very Important

Somewhat Important

Not important at all

Not sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

Working towards common goals

54

26

28

21

19

6

Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

52

26

26

21

21

7

Disciplined approach to solving problems

49

25

23

21

24

7

Creative problem solving

47

23

23

19

27

7

Flexibility in work situations

45

22

23

19

27

8

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 7

MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

Percent saying Extremely/Very Important

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2007

Total 2014

Education

HS or less

Some College

College Grad

Post Grad

%

%

%

%

%

%

Working towards common goals

44

54

54

58

53

49

Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

47

52

46

59

52

49

Disciplined approach to solving problems

41

49

45

53

49

45

Creative problem solving

37

47

44

50

49

43

Flexibility in work situations

36

45

43

49

43

41

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 8

MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

Base: Involved in Music Program

Total 2014

Years in Music

Type of Music

Less than 3

3-5 years

5+

years

Still involved

Chorus

Inst.

Lessons

Orch or band

Vocal

lessons

Garage

band

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Working towards common goals

54

44

57

67

76

57

58

58

74

65

Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

52

37

52

69

88

55

56

55

75

70

Disciplined approach to solving problems

49

36

50

62

78

51

52

53

71

64

Creative problem solving

47

36

49

55

80

49

50

51

71

61

Flexibility in work situations

45

34

48

56

72

48

47

49

67

62

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 9

WHAT MUSIC EDUCATION PREPARES PEOPLE FOR

Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Base: All adults

AGREE

(NET)

Strongly

Agree

Somewhat

Agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly

Disagree

Not

Sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers

71

30

40

14

9

5

15

Learnings and habits from music education provide you with a disciplined approach to solving programs

67

25

42

17

11

6

16

Learnings and habits from music education prepare someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully

66

24

42

16

11

5

17

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 9

WHAT MUSIC EDUCATION PREPARES PEOPLE FOR

Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Base: All adults

Total 2007

Total 2014

Participated in music

Education

Yes

No

HS or Less

Some College

College Grad

Post Grad

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers

66

71

77

51

65

75

75

72

Learnings and habits from music education provide you with a disciplined approach to solving programs

61

67

72

53

62

71

72

71

Learnings and habits from music education prepare someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully

59

66

71

52

59

71

72

70

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 14 and 19, 2014 among 2,286 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll¨ #72, July 24, 2014

By Regina A. Corso, VP, Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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