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Many top achievers from various industries credit their musical training for developing skills critical to their accomplishments. What do successful people have in common? Many top achievers from various industries credit their musical training for developing skills critical to their accomplishments. This holds true even if they haven’t played or studied in years. However, a 2011 study by the American Psychological Association showed starting early and keeping music part of life maximize the brain’s long-term function. Also, a passion for music seems to be what matters, not necessarily talent. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who plays guitar in a rock band, said that music, “reinforces your confidence in the ability to create…something is pushing you to look beyond what currently exists.” NBC’s White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who plays the french horn, said, “There’s nothing like music to teach you that eventually if you work hard enough, it does get better. You see the results.” Besides creativity and hard work, other skills include abilities to focus, listen, collaborate, problem solve, and be conscious of present and future at the same time. Unfortunately, musical pursuits in the U.S. are declining and at a time when the benefits they offer are becoming scarcely seen. Perhaps young generations can start to make a better future simply by picking up an instrument.