Us, artistic types we have strong feelings about ‘what’s right’, personal values and we often strive to consistently meet the expectations we set for our selves; often these expectations are high and unattainable which can lead to frustration but when achieved Euphoria best describes what we feel! I found that the main personality traits of a songwriter include:
- A different brain
- Growth mentality
- Advanced writing abilities
- Openness for new perspectives
- High musical intuition
- Use of a notebook or digital app
- Critical thinking
- Emotional embrace
Okay, let’s begin.
Are you an artist? Please check our brain
Okay, this is not exactly a personality trait but is interesting, to say the least!
A study has found that artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists.
Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery. This study suggests that structural brain differences in relation to expertise have been demonstrated in visual perception, spatial navigation, complex motor skills, and musical ability.
I believe many musicians use their visual imagination when creating a song. How the chords hold up on against each other, how the melody line moves along with the harmony and how the kick snare pattern is structured. Even more in recent years with the rise of DAW that offer visual representations versus the era before computers where such luxuries were not present.
Bottom line, practice makes perfect and changes the structure of your brain!
We are curious
Curiosity is one of the key traits of a successful songwriter, Stay hungry for what is new and at the same time rediscover the old, this my friend Is art, not science.
If you’re not growing you’re dying! Just take a look at mother nature, observe the world around you, everything reaches its maximum potential take as an example a common tree, it keeps on growing unless something really big forces it to stop.
…I remember one of the key phrases Steve Jobs said was:
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”
Stay hungry for more and keep looking forward, The process of becoming a successful songwriter involves changing and ducting and reinventing oneself, I believe we are at the edge of musical evolution, something great is about to happen, therefore keep growing as a producer, as a human being and keep moving forward.
The trade of Persistence is not only present at songwriters, but persistance is also the number one quality a successful human being should possess.
Everything in life that is of quality demands a certain degree of persistence, you should persist not only when you enjoy what you’re doing but also when you find it difficult to motivate yourself to take action.
One thing that really works for me is
- holding someone accountable,
- setting clear goals
- printing them out and put them on the wall,
That’s how i create a visual representation of the process and see the end result. Try it if you like I would be happy to hear your experiences.
Write write write
I think you’ve guessed this one already, practice is key! It doesn’t matter if you’re a songwriter, a producer, a singer or a musician, it doesn’t matter if you are one day in your journey or if you are an established artist…
Just think about your heroes and musical idols they all had to practice.
Take for example The Beatles, as they were touring for years before they got famous, Before they wrote their own songs they did perform pop songs of their generation, that’s was in many ways their musical training.
Or take the King of POP Michael Jackson, even when he was at the height of his career, used to practice for hours and hours per day.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] Have a look at your schedule, write down your short term time wasting activities and trade some of them for a few long terms important activities, for example, exchange a few hours of Netflix with the habit of improving your craft.[/learn_more]
Embrace new perspectives
It’s a great skill if an artist can embrace new perspectives and at the same time stay true to his values and sound and musical style. What generally works is adding your own unique element to whatever music is popular at the moment.
I don’t believe that daydreaming is a skill every songwriter must have, but you could argue that seeing the future better than it is in order to be able to create it is of utmost importance, that is a form of daydreaming.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] The first step is: seeing things as they are. The second step is: seeing things better than they are. Only then you will have the motivation to take consistent action towards your goals.[/learn_more]
High musical intuition
You don’t have to be a prodigy at the age of six like Mozart was, even Jimi Hendrix started playing guitar in his mid-teens. Musical intuition is present to the 95% of songwriters and musicians, furthermore, they presen skills such as:
- Adjusting easily to rhythm changes
- Recognizing chord changes
- Staying in pitch
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP:”] If you find yourself lacking in rhythm 1) turn on a metronome try to clap on the first third measure of the beat. 2) After that try clapping on the second and fourth measure. 3) If that seems easy put on a Bossa nova rhythm and try replicating that. 4) If you having difficulties recognizing chord changes take a DAW and randomly program a few chords, replay them in a random order and try guessing them correctly.[/learn_more]
I have noticed that songwriters tend to be obsessed with their craft. As most artist, they tend to show signs of perfectionism and attention for detail.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] Wanting to provide the best value possible is a good quality perfectionism can be a self-limiting tendency preventing us songwriters from actually releasing songs and finishing projects. I know for sure I have been guilty of that one myself… Sometimes we have to say F@ck it and just do it, no matter if our project it’s not completely finished just yet.[/learn_more]
Use of a notebook or digital app
Again this one is not a personality trait but is definitely something most songwriters share!
Having the freedom to instantly jot down your ideas without any limitations Is very important. Some of us carry a digital recorder or simply use our phones to record melodies, text or rhythm patterns.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] Try experimenting with different applications, keep a neat filing system and strive to bring your ideas to life as soonest possible. I personally use One Note from Microsoft.[/learn_more]
Now, this is more of a shortcoming than an asset. Being critical can seriously limit your potential, artists tend to be self-critical of their work which can be a good thing if its present in healthy doses and balanced with a lot of confidence.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] I found that trading appreciation for expectation has freed me from the self-criticism trap. Try not being harsh on yourself, and don’t allow self-criticism to stand in your way of success.[/learn_more]
Being emotional is a common trade between artists even the DIE-HARD ones 🙂 and if you think about it makes sense since music is emotion. One of the greatest milestones a songwriter can achieve (myself included) is to be able to generate emotion from his audience!
Any kind of emotion will do since a great deal of the music out there, can be dull and emotionless.
[learn_more caption=”PRO TIP”] Look at your favorite songs and discover which ones are creating an emotional response. Take into consideration the lyrics, chord structure, the relation between melody and harmony the tempo and the style of singing[/learn_more]
All these factors and more are contributing to the final result.
What are your traits as a songwriter? Do you believe there should be more traits added to this list? If so please comment below