Since childhood, I have favored expressing myself through the unspoken language of art. Whether creating collages of everyday scenes with colored construction paper or molding imaginary creatures out of Sculpey clay, I grew up with a need to create. Over time, I’ve realized that the arts are also rewarding because of the values they foster like follow-through, problem-solving, collaboration, independence, dedication, achievement, and discipline.
Where I grew up, aside from the designated hour every few weeks devoted to a doomed simultaneous teaching of the recorder to 60 kids at once, there was no school music program. So, when I was seven I asked my mother if I could play the flute. I went to weekly flute lessons through middle and high school learning to master piece after piece, to understand a foreign language and the history of human culture through eras of musical expression.
I went on to pursue a dual major in Flute Performance and Business Institutions at Northwestern University. Playing in orchestra taught me that an individual part within an orchestra requires not only the mastery of one’s own role, but also the ability to listen to other instruments, to follow the conductor, and to react to the acoustics of the surroundings. Although tuning, stylistic inflections, tempo, and dynamics may sound perfect when playing solo, it takes a special ability to listen, react, collaborate, and co-shape the music in order to coherently and effectively play with others.
These traits are directly parallel to qualities that are essential within innovation and business: cross-functional teams, the balance of teamwork and individual execution, and the need to listen to those around you to find a common ground. Just as one learns discipline through the practice and mastery of a new piece of music or a new art medium, situations in professional and personal life require an iterative exploration of learning, practice, and refinement.
Music, just one aspect of my passion for arts, has taught me cross-applicable skills that I feel have enabled me to excel in communicating and working with others, while opening my mind to both analytical and creative thinking. I would not be able to act as a consultant today in a tightly-woven, small team without this education.
I attribute my success to the values that my interest and education in the arts have provided.