The next great inventor will likely take music lessons as a kid

Children involved in the arts are more likely to be inventors and CEOs.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Those piano lessons might not turn your kid into the next Rachmaninov, but they are still likely to pay off later in life.

New research from Michigan State University shows that children who participated in arts and crafts activities as children were more likely to generate patents and businesses when they grew up.

The study, published in the latest Economic Development Quarterly, looked at MSU graduate students who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from 1990-1995. Of that group, those students who went on to own their own businesses or patents had eight times more exposure to the arts in childhood (up to 14 years old) than the average person.

The type of art training also seemed to make a difference in the impact later in life.

  • 93 percent of the STEM graduates studied had music training, compared to 34 percent of average adults.
  • Those exposed to metal work or electronics were 42 percent more likely to own a patent.
  • Those involved in architecture were 87.5 percent more likely to start a company.
  • Children with interest in photography were 30 percent more likely to have a patent.

The reason? These activities promote innovative thinking from a young age.

And there are major implications here for broader economies.

"Inventors are more likely to create high-growth, high-paying jobs in our state, and that’s the kind of target we think we should be looking for," said Rex LaMore, director of MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development. "So we better think about how we support artistic capacity, as well as science and math activity, so that we have these outcomes."

Photo: Flickr/MIKI Yoshihito

[h/t Quartz]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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