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Those hours practising piano scales or singing with a choral group weren't for nothing because people with a background in music tend to have a higher education and earn more, according to a new survey.

The poll by Harris Interactive, an independent research company, showed that 88 per cent of people with a post-graduate education were involved in music while in school, and 83 per cent of people earning US$150,000 ($198,390) or more had a music education.

"Part of it is the discipline itself in learning music, it's a rigorous discipline, and in an ensemble situation, there's a great deal of working with others. Those types of skills stand you well in careers later in life," said John Mahlmann, of the National Association for Music Education in Reston, Virginia, which assisted in the survey.

In addition to the practical skills gained from studying music, people questioned in the online poll said it also gave them a sense of personal fulfillment.

Students who found music to be extremely or very influential to their fulfillment were those who had vocal lessons and who played in a garage band.

Nearly 80 per cent of the 2,565 people who took part in the survey last month who were still involved in music felt the same way.

"That's the beauty of music, that they can bring both hard work and enjoyment together, which doesn't always happen elsewhere," Mahlmann added in and interview.

- REUTERS