Studying musical talent and religious commitment could be a sign of faith in America

A new study just completed at the University of Notre Dame reveals a surprising correlation between musical talent and the place of faith that a person identifies with.

The researchers examined 2000 college students and their music interest and religious sentiment. The students were asked to fill out a five-question questionnaire about their musical aspirations and interests as well as their level of religious conviction, their religious history, and their relation to a faith community.

“We came to find a common relationship between musical prowess and the professed beliefs and practices of religious commitment,” notes lead researcher S. Dennis Bartz, “but that more academic prowess is associated with religious commitment.”

When a combination of musical status and personal conviction were combined, the results indicated that “particular musical aptitude” correlated with a slight, but statistically significant, increase in the number of individuals who maintained their religious practice.

Bartz concludes, “It may not come as a surprise that religious beliefs and practices are closely related to music talents, and not so much with humble ambitions to excel on stage or in the studio. But our findings show that this connection is of more than theoretical interest and deserves to be further evaluated.”

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